Dhaka, Moscow ink $1 billion weapons deal

AFP-JIJI

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday met Bangladesh’s prime minister for talks that included the inking of a $1 billion arms contract, the Asian nation’s biggest since gaining independence in 1971.

Bangladesh has recently been expanding its defense capabilities, building a new air base close to neighboring Myanmar and adding frigates to its navy.

The arms deal includes orders for armored vehicles and infantry weapons, air defense systems and Mi-17 transport helicopters, a source told the Vedomosti business daily. The source said the purchase did not include any tank orders because Bangladesh had earlier obtained those from China.

A.N.M Muniruzzaman, an analyst at the Dhaka-based Institute of Peace and Security Studies, said it was the biggest defense deal to be signed by Bangladesh since 1971.

A separate part of the agreement will see Russia supply $500 million for the construction of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power station. The two planned reactors are expected to cost $4 billion, with Russia also agreeing to continue financing construction after the first phase of the project is complete.