Dhaka, Apr 27 (bdnews24.com) — Following an agreement with Russian oil giant Gazprom, Dhaka is trying to hammer out an almost billion-dollar arms deal with Moscow.
"We expect to strike a deal within a month or two," Bangladesh's ambassador to Russia S M Saiful Haque told bdnews24.com.
When asked about the size of the deal, Haque said, "It is close to a billion dollars."
An earlier report in a local Bengali daily said that Dhaka would be purchasing $850 million (Tk 71.4 billion, just over 4 percent of the current national budget) worth of arms and ammunition from Moscow.
The arms deal is expected to be financed through a Russian credit-line but the details were not readily available.
The ambassador refrained from making any comments indicating that a part of the negotiations still revolved around those issues.
Saiful Haque had come to Dhaka with a Gazprom delegation to facilitate the energy deal and left Dhaka on Friday with the delegation.
"Russia is one of our trusted allies and defence cooperation with them is increasing," Haque said before he left Dhaka.
Bangladesh-Russia relationship began to be reinvigorated after the Awami League-led government came to power in 2009 and expanded from defence to nuclear technology to energy exploration.
The ambassador said these were only small steps towards a much stronger cooperation that had much potential.
A parliamentary standing committee report stated that Bangladesh plans to purchase a squadron (16) of advanced training aircraft that will facilitate flying jet fighters and a high powered radar system under a long-term loan protocol from Russia.
Russia, heart of the former Soviet Republic, played a key role in Bangladesh's liberation in 1971, exercised its veto power thrice at the United Nations on Dec 11, 12 and 14 in 1971, which paved the way for Bangladesh's independence.
Moscow also helped clear the mines of Chittagong port after liberation and assisted the Bangladesh's energy sector in the early 70's.
Bangladesh working on Russian arms deal | Bangladesh | bdnews24.com