Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially commissioned the Bangladesh Navy's first submarines on Sunday afternoon.
With the addition of the Chinese-supplied submarines - – Nabajatra and Joyjatra - the Navy can be considered a “three-dimensional force” for the first time.
The Type 035G-class submarines, also known as Ming-class, were reportedly assembled at the Dalian state's Liaonan shipyard.
The submarines are a class of diesel-electric submarines used by the People’s Liberation Army Navy. They are 76 metres in length and 7.6 metres in width.
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The primary weaponry for Type 035G is the Yu-3 torpedo. It uses French-made sonar DUUX-5 unit. The 035G-class is also renowned for its anti-submarine weapon capabilities.
They were built with further improvements, especially in terms of noise reduction, weapons, sensors and crew living standards.
The Type 035G, which is frequently used for coastal patrols, will be especially useful since, after settling maritime border disputes with Myanmar and India, Bangladesh now has about 118,813 sq km of maritime territory.
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According to an Inter Service Public Relations release, after the submarines arrived at the Chittagong port on December 22 last year, the naval personnel of both the countries completed a sea trial and real training to operate them.
In November last year, Bangladesh, seeking to boost its naval power in the Bay of Bengal, paid China a reported $203m for the two submarines.
This deal, which reflects the country’s growing economic and defence ties with Beijing, intensified the transnational tug of war between India and China to sway Bangladesh towards either of the nations.
When Chinese President Xi visited Bangladesh in October last year, 27 deals, amounting to some $25 billion, were signed.
This caused Indian authorities to feel some concern.
Post-submarine sales, India launched a response by rushing Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Bangladesh to ensure long-term cooperation between the nations in matters of defence.
India is now willing to offer Bangladesh a $500 million line of credit for the purchase of military hardware.
In 2013, when the government signed a billion-dollar deal with Russia to buy fighter training jets, helicopters and anti-tank missiles, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had announced a plan to purchase two submarines.
Bangladesh has since been expanding its defence capabilities – building a new airbase close to neighbouring Myanmar, opening several new military cantonments across the country and adding new frigates to its naval fleet.
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