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Dhaka close to signing defence deals with US

Published : Thursday, 5 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 978

Dhaka is close to signing agreements with Washington to buy defence products from the USA.
Aiming to sign the deal, top defense officials both from Bangladesh and USA visited the countries several times to finalize the every detail of the agreements, officials said.
"Both the sides are closer to the issue. US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall G Schriver's visit has made it," a senior official told the Daily Observer.
Meanwhile, the US and Bangladesh have military cooperation, including that for training of Bangladeshi peacekeepers, counter-terrorism exercises, disaster response, and exchange of trainings.
The US provided $5.3 million to cover the total cost of procurement and delivery of five Metal Shark boats to support the maritime security objectives of Bangladesh Navy.  
According to the officials, during his visit Randall G Schriver sat with top government and military officials in last two days.
He discussed a number of initiatives to strengthen defense partnership and cooperation, including the proposed two foundational defense agreements - General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), the official said.
In 2018, Bangladesh showed its interest to buy advanced military equipment from US. The US state department suggested Bangladesh to sign two agreements called GSOMIA and ACSA, which are the prerequisite to buy advanced military equipment from the USA.
"We discussed the GSOMI and ACSA. We are very close to signing the agreements," a senior official said.
Bangladesh traditionally buys defense products from China and Russia and recently it signed agreement with India in this regard.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told the reporters on April 13 that the US State Department wants Bangladesh to buy defense products from Washington.
However, the prices of these products are very high.
"There were many question about the two deals, the US officials said. The GSOMIA does not obligate governments to share classified information or material. It ensures protection of the information shared by partner governments."

 "It's a reciprocal legally-binding agreement that ensures governments understand and commit to protecting classified military information," said an official.  
 "We are currently working with the government of Bangladesh to conclude certain foundational defense agreements … these are essential to enabe a close relationship, expanding opportunities for defense trade, information sharing and military-to-military cooperation between our two countries," said a US official wishing not to be named.  The US has GSOMIA agreements with 76 countries, including India and Sri Lanka.

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