With decades of unresolved tension over territorial disputes and Myanmar’s Rohingya influx into Bangladesh, the two neighbours have maintained an uneasy relationship, sometimes deteriorating to exchange of fire and deployment of regular armed forces along the border.
Following the recent troop deployment from the Myanmar side to the border, the border security forces of both countries held a flag meeting where Bangladesh called on Myanmar to remove the army from the Bangladesh border.
On March 1, Myanmar deployed a large contingent of security forces with heavy weapons along the Tambru border with Bangladesh, creating panic among the Rohingyas on the adjacent no man’s land.
A full picture of the military power of the two countries was not found until recently. A recent report titled Global Fire Power Index 2017, however, provides a comparative picture of the military powers of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
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According to the Global Fire Power Index 2017, Myanmar is ranked the world’s 31st most powerful military while Bangladesh’s position is 57th.
Bangladesh is far ahead of Myanmar on the basis of population but is far behind in military terms. In the comparison, the list did not only include matters like military manpower, arms and vehicles, but also population, geographical location, industry, and performance.
Number of soldiers
According to the index, the number of military personnel in Bangladesh is 2,25,000 while there are 5,16,000 in Myanmar’s army. There are 65,000 personnel in Bangladesh’s reserve force and Myanmar has 1,10,000 people.
The defence budget of Bangladesh is $1.59 billion while the Myanmar’s is $2.4 billion.
Bangladesh has 166 aircraft, including 45 warriors and 45 attack aircraft. On the other hand, Myanmar has 56 fighter aircraft and 77 attack aircraft. Myanmar has 86 helicopters while Bangladesh has 61.
According to the report, Bangladesh Army has 534 tanks while Myanmar has 592. Bangladesh has 982 armoured fighting vehicles while Myanmar has 1,358.
Bangladesh has 18 self-propelled artilleries and 32 rocket projectors. Myanmar has 108 self-propelled artilleries and 108 rocket projectors. Myanmar has 884 towed artilleries, the report said.
Bangladesh has 89 naval assets including six frigates and five mine warfare vessels where Myanmar has 155 naval assets.
However, neither country has aircraft carriers or destroyers.
Although it was mentioned in this report that Bangladesh did not have any submarines, the country actually bought two submarines recently.
Bangladesh is ahead in the number of frigates. Myanmar has five while Bangladesh has six. Bangladesh is ahead of Myanmar in terms of mine warfare craft and commercial vessels.
According to the report, the world’s most powerful military belongs to the US, followed by Russia, China and India. The top 10 countries include France, United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, Germany and Egypt.