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Defence deal with Delhi torpedoes ‘Doctrine of National Defence’.

Banglar Bir

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Defence deal with Delhi torpedoes ‘Doctrine of National Defence’.

Shahid Islam

It’s trying time for Bangladesh and its incumbent Awami League regime led by Sheikh Hasina. The Indian imposition of doctrinal directives in the just concluded defence framework agreement with Bangladesh is unsustainable, unrealistic, and unnecessary for the Bangladesh armed forces that have a ‘top secret’ doctrine uniquely tuned to their peculiar needs. This long-held, customized ‘Doctrine of National Defence’ (DND) is under threat now.
For decades, the DND has been a billion dollar secret of the nation which any comprehensive defence agreement with an external power will compromise. The doctrine encompasses local, regional and global threat matrices and is composed of both defensive, offensive, overt and covert components and ops of war that can be fought with equal efficiency at the home front and theatres abroad. The specifics of that doctrine will lay open before India if the just-concluded defence framework agreement becomes mandatory by getting nudged to the status of a ratified treaty.

A solid doctrine
It’s a solid, customized concept, and it had evolved over the decades amidst a desperate quest for conformation with changing threat perceptions, regional and global. At its core, the doctrine acts as the catalyst to devising Bangladesh’s war strategy to defend its territorial integrity from external aggression and internal subversion, and, it is constantly being revised to suit existential needs. That is another secret which an invasive and intrusive defence pact, like the one ‘frame-worked’ with Delhi, will compromise.
Those who are in the know of the Bangladesh’s unique doctrine say it’s somewhat synonymous to the country’s national defence policy, and it’s premised on defensive and offensive components, as well as components of special operations into enemies under valleys.
Amidst heated debate over Dhaka-Delhi defence agreement inked during PM Sheikh Hasina’s latest visit to Delhi, and the content of such a sensitive matter not having been made public in its entirety, serious concerns are sprouting within the country’s security think tanks and policy makers about an integrative defence agreement that had allowed everything to Delhi—from doctrinal collaboration to remodelling individual weapon system being used by Bangladesh armed forces.

Threat perception
The predominant of Bangladeshis think this is a wrong move. Bangladesh’s threat perception is based on scenarios involving aggression from neighbouring countries, as well as from powers from far afield. In 1980, President Zia modelled this scenario based on an aggression from one of the neighbours and war-gamed it to show how the border forces and the standing military could be aided by people from all walks of lives to build the bulwark of ‘mass defenders,’ the armed forces eventually melting away with the people. The exercise was codenamed ‘Iron Shield.’
The concept was almost similar to the expertise the freedom fighter officers had mastered during the 1971 war of liberation in which about 28,000 Bengali soldiers and border guards (EPR) of East Pakistan melted away with the Freedom Fighters (FF) to build a fighting machine of about 147,000 strong, with biting teeth.
As the armed forces went through the phases of solidification since 1972; first undergoing re-organization from 1972-75; re-structuring from 1976 to 1981 (when existing brigades were turned to divisions); and re-calibrating with global necessities by inducting AFV, SAM and other modern war machines; the initial defence doctrine of the early 1980s were revised to incorporate the newly-gained offensive capabilities while the defensive blue print stayed more or less the same.
As well, the geography, topography, internal mobility and the geo-strategic depth of Bangladesh offers a picture and a reality that is no way conducive to entering a comprehensive defence pact with India. Nor does it render any realistic avenue to sign similar agreements with other regional or global powers like China, Russia or the USA. Bangladeshis cannot visualize the scenes of Indian soldiers and tanks moving through their land to reach Northeastern Indian provinces in the instance of another Indo-China war, and some militants or insurgents hitting the Indian convoy to flare up a regional or global crisis.

Sucked-in the syndrome
The agreement sucks Bangladesh into a regional power complexity with the potential of being war alliance. And, such a broader geo-political canvas aside, the just concluded framework agreement—or the MoU— between Dhaka and Delhi supplanted many of the existing agreements on ongoing collaborative exchanges in defence training, visit, bilateral and multilateral exercises, etc.
The deal also ignored the existing collaborations on global war on terror with India, USA and few other countries. Above all, as Bangladesh’s preoccupation with international peacekeeping retrogrades into naught the necessity for such a comprehensive defence agreement with any other power—as it implies an offensive posture which Bangladesh does not nourish, and a defensive posture for which it needs no external help – India should refrain from pursuing it further, beyond the MoU.
Lucrative though it may look as the new deal’s infusion of $500 million worth of credit translates into an undertaking on Bangladesh’s part to procuring Indian arms and weapons which Delhi has been trying to sell to other countries, why should one buy something not needed? India wants to be an arms exporter and Bangladesh is the guinea pig in this venture. Irony is: Indian military buys most of its military gadgets and hardware from abroad (these days mostly from USA and Israel) although it has a production capability to export a variety of weapons, including locally assembled fighter jets.
More alarmingly, the use by Bangladesh armed forces of any ‘made in India’ weapon, which are widely available with separatist fighters of the Indian Northeast, as well as with Islamic militants, will sow seeds of confusion and mistrust among Indian analysts who might blame Bangladesh to have doled such weapons to those rouge elements, as it did in the past.

Appendage of Delhi doctrine
The deal is virtually an appendage of Delhi’s standard military doctrine that entails priorities to fighting two enemies simultaneously - China and Pakistan. The Bangladesh deal has been foisted upon Dhaka to encumber it in a manner so as to make it a part of the broader Indian defence doctrine which, in so far as Bangladesh is concerned, is fixated on sparing Northeast India from future Chine forays. During the 1962 Indo-China war, the Chinese army reached Tejpur of Assam, almost to the backyard of then East Pakistan. Reports also suggest, and Delhi says it has evidence of, Beijing’s propping up of many separatist groups in the region.
Yet, the deal arrogantly bypassed the uniqueness of Bangladesh as a regional balancer between China and India, and the historicity of the Bangladeshi peoples’ penchant for ‘peoples’ war’ to conventional war waging, if attacked. The most unique aspect of Bangladesh’s existing defence doctrine is the ability it offers to the armed forces and the weapon systems to get melted with the ordinary people to obviate vulnerabilities on one hand, and retain the offensive capability to hit back, on the other. Moreover, the kinds of weapons Delhi has on offer are also made inside Bangladesh, excepting the airborne ones, with joint collaboration with China.

Doctrinal derailment
Good thing is: The deal is not mandatory; not until it assumes the status of a binding treaty ratified by Bangladesh parliament. What it does in the short run is that it injects confusion among the Bangladeshi defence planning experts who are unanimous for following reasons as to why the deal is harmful and counter intuitive for Bangladesh.
One: India’s threat perception is Sino-Pakistan centric. Along Bangladesh, Delhi fears a pre-emptive move by China to choking off the Shiliguri corridor straddled between Bangladesh and Nepal, to dismember Indian north east from the centre. Success or failure of such a mission depends on the degree and the compulsiveness of Bangladesh’s collaborations with either of the warring countries. Dhaka’s binding defence collaboration with China or India is hence suicidal for this single reason alone.
Two: Bangladesh is 160 million strong, the third largest Muslim country in the world. This reality makes it more amenable to aligning with the OIC member nations in any unforeseen instant. For instance, Dhaka is committed to offering troops for the defence of Muslim holy sites like Mecca and Madina in the instance of any aggression against Saudi Arabia, while one of the major Indian fault lines is the dispute over Muslim-predominant Kashmir and Delhi’s negation to resolve the Kashmir conflict as per UN-prescribed guidelines.
Three: That Bangladesh is progressing is due to its global role as a peacekeeper and pursuance of foreign policy that antagonizes none. By being equidistant from the USA, China, Russia, India and other regional and global powers, Bangladesh moves ahead with better tread in gaining global economic dividends.
Four: A major chunk of responsibilities being performed by Bangladesh armed forces involves infrastructure building and technological assistance to uplifting the nation’s economic performances. The army - run machine tools factory is an R&D hub while all the major roads and bridge constructions are supervised by the army. There is no justifiable reason why Bangladesh armed forces should lay open its defensive and nuclear projects to any foreign nation, excepting to the ones already in collaborations in such matters.
Five: Delhi’s latest strategic re-alignment with the USA is opposed by Russia, which is another major supplier of arms and nuclear power generation technology to Bangladesh. The defence agreement entails nuclear collaborations with India, which Moscow will not like.
These and other reasons constitute the unanimity of opinion that the Dhaka-Delhi defence collaborations should stay at the level they are, so as not to unleash a new polarization in South Asia; with Dhaka being seen as an integral part of a strategic anti-China arc composed of the USA, India and Bangladesh. At the least, the defence deal with Delhi had torpedoed the inherent tranquility of mind that had propelled Bangladesh faster on the highway of growth for decade.
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Banglar Bir

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In the year of 1912, Emperor Jahangir allowed East India to establish their base, now in the year 2017, PM Sk. Hasina did the same. Any lessons learnt?

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How Independent state of Sikkim lost her Independence to India.
 

Zen0

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Weeklyholiday.com lol What is this trash news , next are you going to post qoura & linked in blogs ?
 

T-Rex

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Some PDF members from BD were assuring us that there would never be any defence pact. Where are they now? Some people love to live on a fantasy island.
 

asad71

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Some PDF members from BD were assuring us that there would never be any defence pact. Where are they now? Some people love to live on a fantasy island.
1.The Indian octopus hardly requires a def pact to invade BD! So what was this halla gulla in the Indian media. All directed to the Indian masses targeting ensuing general election. No def pact was signed; and such pacts need parliamentary ratification. Only a bevy of MOUs were signed to fool the Indian public that BJP has re-conquered BD that Congress had lost.

2. A Doctrine of Traditional People's Def is unassailable by political mischief makers. The Doctrine relies totally on the will of the whole population. For instance the people of Pakistan were on board when GOP signed Baghdad Pact/CENTO/RCD, SEATO and US Mily Assistance deal. People were also on board when the Americans, Saudis and others arrived to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But the people were left out when USA invaded Afghanistan using Pak soil during Musharraf regime. So you and the Yankees both are paying the price. NOPE, we will not allow Indians to come in unless they want to be drowned in our marshes and beaten up by strong Bangladeshi bamboos. They ought to remember what we did to Akbar 's sala / brother-in-law,Gen Man Singh or the Maratha marauder Vashkar Pandit.
 
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Banglar Bir

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"Doctrine of Traditional People's Defence" presently could possibly dictated by political mischief.
However, the said Doctrine was pioneered by Shaheed President General Ziaur Rahman,BU and all necessary preparations including creation of Village Defence Police, significant increase of Ansars, stockpiling of weapons all across Bangladesh, incorporating all civil assets,etc were being implemented. I am a witness to measures undertaken.

This people's oriented Doctrine would turn any invading enemies into an incomprehensible death zone.
 

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