Bangladeshi Defense Industry – The Bangladesh military inherited both the institutional framework of its British Indian and Pakistan Army predecessors, as well as their orientation against the civilian rule and their sensitivity to political power. The Armed Forces Division (AFD) is the principal administrative organization by which military policy is formulated and executed. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) should exercise authority over the Armed Forces. The AFD and the MoD are headed by the prime minister of Bangladesh. To coordinate military policy, both the president and the prime minister of Bangladesh are advised by a six-member advisory board, three chiefs of staff, the principal staff officer of the AFD, and military secretaries to the president and the prime minister.
Bangladesh is an emerging market-based economy, developing its economic, social, and human infrastructure to by transforming itself into a prosperous country in the coming years. Protecting from the external threats and maintaining the internal stability, the government allocated also recently allocated 1.3% of its GDP towards defense purposes during the historic period. The Bangladesh Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget included $5.3 billion in defense and security-related expenditures: The Ministry of Defense, including the Armed Forces Division, accounted for $2.8 billion and the Ministry of Home Affairs, with purview over police and security operations, accounted for $2.5 billion.
Bangladesh has only two state-controlled defense equipment manufacturing units thus country has no other option other than importing military hardware from foreign defense operators. The arms imports have increased due to the government’s extensive military upgrade programs
According to study, “Future Of The Bangladeshi Defense Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape And Forecasts To 2023” some of the weapon manufacturers and army traders that are currently working in Bangladesh are Bangladesh Ordnance Factories, Bangabandhu Aeronautical Centre, Khulna Shipyard and Dockyard and Engineering Works Limited.
Demand for equipment is expected to remain focused around aircraft, helicopters, naval vessels, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles, artillery surveillance, and monitoring equipment. The country’s budget for homeland security is projected to increase over the forecast period, primarily driven by increasing threats from arms and drug trafficking and terrorism.
China being first and Russia is the second largest arms exporter to Bangladesh. Bangladesh has not disclosed offset policies and foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations related to its defense sector. As country’s domestic defense industry is still developing and it fails to fulfill the country’s requirements, which lead to the Bangladeshi government entering into, defense equipment procurement contracts with the governments of other nations. The country is also the most significant contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping activities. Apart from efforts, Bangladeshi Defense Industry procurement suffers from the disconnection between policy and budgeting procurement practices. To ease the process the military budgeting and procurement should be linked to established defense policy goals, not Forces Goal of 2030.
The Bangladeshi armed forces are taking initiatives to manufacture the country’s needed military equipment and gears in a home. Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory (BMTF) has sufficient resources and skilled manpower to execute such a big military vehicle manufacturing process. Bangladesh Army also producing various types of military trucks and cars. Bangladesh Army also set up an overhauling plant for Russian built Brown-transporter(BTR) series armored personnel carriers. Currently, Bangladesh Army has 600+ BTR APCs.
In the near future, Bangladesh will manufacture own aircraft, APC(Armed Personnel Carrier), large warships, MANPADS missiles, multiple launch rocket systems, soldiers’ gears, fighter jet overhauling plant and some other. Building efficient military industries will save a large number of resources and will help in boosting a country’s economy. After fulfilling country’s needs this hardware can be exported this will earn some extra bucks for the economy. A large number of civilian employees would help socio-economic development.
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Ankur Gupta, head marketing & communications