Bangladesh faces problems with Chinese military hardware: Report

ANI
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China and Bangladesh flags
China and Bangladesh flags

Dhaka [Bangladesh], March 11 (ANI): China is making significant headway in terms of international arms sales, however, there are numerous signs that military products produced by Beijing are of poor quality, reports EUreporter.

According to the London-based think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, each of the seven state-owned Chinese defence firms reportedly had a revenue of over USD 5 billion in 2016. These seven companies were among the top 20 defence companies of the world by revenue.

However, it appears that Chinese military equipment and products lack good quality, be it the problems with JF-17 which China is jointly producing with Pakistan, or with the newly procured K-8W.

Bangladesh Air Force had initially procured nine K-8W in 2014-15 and followed it up with additional order of seven of these aircrafts after the tragic loss of one K-8W near Jessore airport in July 2018.

Out of this fresh batch of seven K-8W's, two had developed problems in the initial stages itself post their delivery in October 2020.

Hence, not providing quality aircraft indicates either lack of genuine intent or capability or both.

The much-touted China-Pakistan joint venture of JF-17 program is an example of the state of affairs of Chinese military hardware. It is riddled with problems ranging from its RD-93 engine to problems of aircraft re-fuelling and weapon systems.

Bangladesh had procured the FM-90 (Chinese HQ-7A) system under a Chinese financial offer at a cost of RMB (Renminbi) three million.

The system is important for Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) plans of setting up an Integrated Air Defence system. However, there are defects in the system and BAF is now planning to procure additional spares and items. This, despite the fact that the systems are hardly three years old.

Moreover, Bangladesh sends many of its armed forces personnel to China for training in various People Liberation Army (PLA) institutes.

There were reports of a batch of Bangladesh Air Force officers, who were undergoing training in the Aviation University of Changchun, being mistreated by a Chinese senior officer. The issue, though quickly buried, indicates the general Chinese attitude towards Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is one of the growing economies and it would be in its interests to ensure that the lure of cheap military products or lucrative financing is not the foundation for its security, according to EUreporter.

R. Clarke Cooper, former Assistant Secretary of State in the US, had said: "Through a combination of cut-price systems, predatory financing mechanisms and sometimes outright bribery, China is using arms transfers as a means of getting its foot in the door - a door that, once opened, China quickly exploits both to exert influence and to gather intelligence." (ANI)