Manohar Parrikar to be first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh

News Agencies | First published: 29 November 2016, 17:11 IST
Photo: PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to embark on a two-day visit to Bangladesh on 30 November, during which he will call on the top leadership there and firm up defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's trip to New Delhi next month.

Parrikar, who will be the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh, will call on President Abdul Hamid in Dhaka on Wednesday and hold talks with the Security Advisor to Prime Minister, officials said.

On 1 December, the Minister, who will be accompanied by the Vice Chiefs of the Army and Air Force, Deputy Chief of Navy besides Coast Guard chief, will visit the military academy in Chittagong and meet Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio.

Top Defence Ministry officials said the focus of the trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits around 17 December.

They said that Parrikar was originally scheduled to travel to Bangladesh much earlier this month but the visit was delayed. They also ruled out any link between the visit and the sale of two submarines by China to Bangladesh.

Hasina announced the plan to purchase two submarines in 2013 as part of her government's move to build a modern navy.

When Bangladesh Navy chief Muhammad Farid Habib had visited India in November last year, he had said Bangladesh is going to buy two used submarines from China for "training" its surface crew and Sonar crew in anti-submarine warfare.