While the whole of Asia seems to be engaged in a vast movement of rapid rearmament, the authorities of Bangladesh have just announced the launch ofa procedure aimed at acquiring, in the 2021/2022 budget, 16 modern multipurpose combat aircraft as part of its “Objectives of the Forces 2030” plan. For this, the country is planning an exceptional line of credit financed directly at the state level, and not impacting the budget of the Ministry of Defense, in the amount of 25 crore taka, or € 000 billion. , with a 2,42% provision, i.e. 25 Taka Crore / € 7500m on the 600/2021 budget and credit financing of the balance over a period of 2022 to 5 years.
The 16 aircraft will reinforce the 8 Mig-29s acquired in the 90s from Russia as well as the thirty or so Chinese FJ-7s, an aircraft derived from the Soviet MIG-21, the latter now reaching the limit of potential. But while the country was so far very oriented towards low-cost acquisitions in China or Russia, the budget announced by Dhaka, as well as many rumors that have circulated in the country for several months, suggest that the objective of authorities would now be to acquire a modern European aircraft, and even that competition would focus between the Rafale and the Typhoon, even if we naturally expect to see many other manufacturers offering their aircraft. As such, it should be remembered that in 2020, the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, had traveled to Dhaka to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, largely to present the Rafale, its performance and the offers that France could offer to this country.
The point is, Bangladesh now has the means to fund such a program. Indeed, if in 2000, its GDP was only around $ 50 billion, it was multiplied by 6 in just 20 years to exceed $ 300 billion in 2019, more than Pakistan ($ 280 billion). Due to its strategic geographical position in eastern India and in the heart of the Bay of Bengal, the country must now strengthen its defensive military capabilities, while its neighbors such as India and Myanmar are rapidly increasing their investments in this area, and are modernizing their hunting fleet with great strides. It is precisely this desire to go quickly, and the overall limited budget to acquire 16 modern combat aircraft with armament, spare parts and training, which could play into the hands of the French Rafale.
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