Bangladesh takes delivery of two submarines from China

Indo Asian News Service

Dhaka, Nov 14 (IANS) Bangladesh on Monday took delivery of two Ming class submarines, bought from China, as it seeks to boost its naval power in the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh navy chief Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed received the submarines during a ceremony at Liao Nan Shipyard in Liaoning province's Dalian city, according to an Inter Services Public Relation Directorate release, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

The type 035G class submarines will become part of the country's naval fleet at the beginning of next year. The submarines will be named BNS Nabajatra and BNS Joyjatra respectively.

Bangladesh is reported to have paid over $203 million for the two submarines.

Bangladesh had ordered the two boats from China in 2013. The Bangladesh Navy was originally keen on buying S 20 and Type 039 Song class submarine, which costs $250 million per boat, but decided on the Ming class submarines due to budget limitation.

The Ming class submarine is developed from Russian Romeo Class submarine of the '50s which has been extensively modified by the Chinese. The Romeo Class boat in turn was based on the German Type XXI submarine of World War II.

These diesel-electric submarines displace 2,110 tons and have a surfaced endurance of 8,000 nm allowing them to stay at sea for about 60 days. They are manned by a crew of 57 personnel and carry 18 torpedoes with an option for carrying 32 mines also, according to reports.

In all likelihood, Chinese crew, though in a small number, could be present on these submarines to guide the Bangladesh crew through the initial stages of operations.

The Chinese are also likely to be involved in setting up the shore infrastructure like repair yards, training facilities and operational support establishments for smooth conduct of submarine operations.

Xi Jinping last month became the first Chinese president in 30 years to visit Bangladesh, which has historically been more closely allied to rival regional power India.