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China Increased Influence : Built Naval Dock In Bangladesh

China is continuously making efforts to increase its influence in Bangladesh. With the help of China, a naval dock has been built in Bangladesh for submarines and warships. 

Damian Simon, a researcher at the global intelligence research network The Intel Lab, had released satellite images of a dry dock built in Bangladesh near the Indian border some time ago. 

The naval dock also reflects Beijing's growing military influence in India's backyard while enhancing its maritime capabilities. 

Damien Simon also shared pictures of the naval dock and said that this advanced defense cooperation effort by China will help Beijing strengthen its presence in Bangladesh.

According to the South China Morning Post report, analysts say that India needs to be very worried about this naval dock at the moment because it reflects Bangladesh's desire to strengthen its naval ambitions. 

However, experts also believe that Delhi should be cautious about China's increasing presence in the region. India needs to be cautious because through this naval dock, China will not only increase defense relations with Bangladesh but will also get a new base for its submarines in the Bay of Bengal.

Troy Lee Browne, a research fellow at the Defense and Security Institute at the University of Western Australia, said that the Bangladesh Navy was constructing a dry dock at the new Sheikh Hasina submarine base in Cox's Bazar. 

It has been prepared with about 1.21 billion US dollars. It was inaugurated in March last year by Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina at a ceremony in the presence of Chinese officials. 

Speaking over this, Hasina said the base would strengthen Bangladesh's ability to defend its maritime border. It will be able to host six submarines and eight warships at a time. Also, in case of emergency, safe and fast movement of submarines will be allowed.

She said that the two submarines that Bangladesh purchased from China in 2016 for US$205 million are also expected to be brought for service at the base. 

Bangladesh has been buying cheap naval weapons from China since the 1980s, said Nilanthi Samaranayake, visiting academic for South Asia programs at the United States Institute of Peace think tank. Dhaka's efforts to expand its navy are continuing.

This naval dock being built in Bangladesh with the help of China is being considered worrisome for India. India has traditionally viewed the Indian Ocean region as its sphere of influence, but in the last few years, China has increased its influence on this region. 

China signed an important security agreement with Maldives in March. China's military delegation also visited Maldives as well as Sri Lanka and Nepal this year. 

Chinese research vessels have been spotted near India's coast twice this year, raising concerns that Beijing could be gathering military intelligence in the country's backyard.

On India's concerns, Lee-Brown said, in recent times there has been India-Bangladesh cooperation in joint military exercises and disaster relief programs. Considering the strong security and defense relations between the two countries, this dock built in Bangladesh is not a matter of much concern for India. 

Nevertheless, Delhi would have some concerns about possible future Chinese access to the strategically located Bay of Bengal for the maintenance of its warships and submarines. The Bay of Bengal is one of the world's busiest shipping routes, with more than 40,000 ships passing through it annually, serving as an important maritime gateway between East and West.'

Lee-Brown said that given India's clear naval advantage in the Indian Ocean over China, Beijing needs to work within considerable logistical constraints in the region. 

This becomes more important because tension is also being seen in the area. "If the Chinese Navy gets access to bases like the new Sheikh Hasina Submarine Base in Cox's Bazar to maintain its boats, it will somewhat reduce India's huge geographical advantage in the Indian Ocean," Brown said.