With the recent acquisition of a pair of submarines, the Bangladesh Navy started its journey as a ‘three-dimensional’ force.
The entrance of Bangladesh into the submarine club and, hence, into the submarine era was surely a historic and glorious chapter in the country’s defence history.
Bangladesh’s first submarines arrived at Chittagong Port on the evening of 22nd of December 2016, making the Bangladesh Navy the second Bay of Bengal navy to acquire an undersea capability.
The two conventional submarines, namely ‘Nabajatra’ and ‘Joyjatra’, were purchased from Bangladesh’s long-standing military arms supplier, China, which has already trained the submarines crew.
‘Nabajatra’ and ‘Joyjatra’ are type 035G diesel electric submarines, each of which is 76 metres long and 7.6 metres wide, with reportedly a top speed of 18 knots when submerged. These underwater crafts are supposed to be based in the submarine base at Kutubdia Channel near Cox’s Bazaar.
In 2010, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the plan to develop the Bangladesh Navy into a three-dimensional “deterrent” force, with a view to protecting the nation’s maritime resources and mostly coastal population. The Bangladesh-Myanmar standoff in Bay of Bengal in 2008 had been widely reported to be one of the factors that made Bangladesh government to seriously consider submarine purchase back then.
In late-2008, when Myanmar sent naval vessels to support the Daewoo drilling operations, Bangladesh soon deployed four warships to the area.
While many foreign news media outlets have mocked the submarines and stated that these underwater crafts are only good for training, they failed to shed a light on the submarines’ true nature of being conventional attack-submarines and not merely the ones for training. Both the underwater crafts, which are armed with torpedoes and mines, have the capabilities to attack enemy ships and submarines, just like the conventional war zone submarines.