November 17, 2023
TOKYO – The government has decided to provide patrol ships worth about ¥600 million to Bangladesh under the Official Security Assistance (OSA) framework. The two countries officially reached an agreement on Wednesday.
Bangladesh will be the second country to receive aid under the framework, which allows the government to provide defense equipment and other supplies to like-minded countries. The first OSA agreement was made with the Philippines earlier this month.
Facing the Bengal Bay, Bangladesh sits at a strategic point along Japan’s sea lanes. By boosting the Bangladesh Navy’s surveillance capabilities, and its ability to handle disasters, Japan hopes to keep the lanes safe for Japanese tankers and merchant ships. It also seeks to counter China, which is making increasingly hegemonic moves.
China is backing projects to improve Bangladesh’s harbor infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to create a huge economic bloc. It is also exporting arms to Bangladesh.
The government apparently intends to reduce Bangladesh’s dependence on China through the OSA framework.
It also plans to grant aid under the framework to Malaysia and Fiji during this fiscal year. The final details are now being worked out.
On Monday, the Foreign Ministry chose Djibouti and Vietnam as OSA recipients for the next fiscal year.