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Dhaka to sign military pact with Riyadh next week

  • Published at 12:49 pm February 4th, 2019
Defence deal February 14
Chief of Bangladesh Army General Aziz Ahmed visits the newly constructed Bangladesh Mission in Riyadh on Sunday, Feb 3, 2019 UNB

Four Bangladesh military officials to join Saudi-led Islamic counter terrorism coalition

Bangladesh will sign a defence deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 14, in an effort to enhance military cooperation between the two countries.

Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed made the announcement while visiting the newly-constructed Bangladesh Mission in Riyadh on Sunday, according to a statement released by the Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Some 1,800 Bangladeshi troops will be deployed in Saudi Arabia to defuse and remove mines along the borders of war-torn Yemen once the deal is signed, the embassy said, adding that this is to take “military cooperation between the two countries to new heights.”

Gen Aziz also met with Saudi Chief of Joint Forces Fayiadh Bin Ha’med Al-Rowaily, the same day, and discussed various issues of mutual interest, according to an ISPR press release.

Bangladesh is already a member of Saudi Arabia-led 41-state Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) to combat terrorism, which was formed in 2015.

During the meeting with CJF Faiyadh, Gen Aziz also named four military officials including a brigadier general, who will be joining Saudi’s Islamic military coalition.

Though the Islamic kingdom claims the coalition was formed “to protect the Islamic nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations whatever their sect and name which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to terrorize the innocent,” critics say Saudi Arabia formed this league to counter growing Iran’s influence in the Arabian peninsula and the Middle East region in general.  

Shia Iran is at odds with Sunni Saudi Arabia for influence in the Arab world for decades and proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen in recent years.

Last year, for the first time in Bangladesh Armed Force’s history, an 18-member Bangladesh Army delegation took part in the much-hyped joint military exercise named Gulf Shield -1, hosted by the Kingdom. 

Apart from Bangladesh and the host Saudi Arabia, 19 other countries have participated in the exercise with a view to increase more military coordination.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the concluding ceremony of the exercise on an invitation by King Salman.

During Gen Aziz’s meeting with Al-Ruwaili, the two military officials discussed bilateral issues. Also, Bangladesh discussed sending military engineers to construct military and civilian construction works in Saudi Arabia.

“There is excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries,” Gen Aziz said, hoping that the ties will be stronger in the future.