Bangladesh is not going to procure any arms from the United States at this moment but instead focusing on its economic development for the welfare of its people, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said.
“At this moment there’s no procurement (arms) issue. Our key aim is economic development,” he said, adding that they are still in the third stage of the five-stage process before signing the proposed General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with the USA.
The foreign secretary said the US is interested to sign the GSOMIA for some “safeguards” on any possible advanced defence equipment procurement in the future but it will take time to complete the remaining stages.
He made it clear that there is no reason to think that Bangladesh is going for a big procurement from the US.
GSOMIA is seen as a "gateway" to do more on the security front including procurement of heavy-duty defence equipment and Bangladesh says it will take the final decision after analyzing national interests. “It’s not something that we need to procure equipment (defence) at this moment.”
While talking to a small group of journalists this week, the foreign secretary said the US side handed over the latest version of the GSOMIA draft to the Bangladesh side during US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland’s Dhaka visit last month.
Responding to a question, he said the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) is also under consideration but it is not Bangladesh’s priority right now.
The US says GSOMIA and ACSA are "essential" to enabling a closer defense relationship, expanding opportunities for defense trade, information sharing, and military-to-military cooperation between the two countries.
The GSOMIA is a foundational government-to-government bilateral agreement that will permit greater collaboration and sharing of classified military information in the form of intelligence and classified information on US defense equipment.
GSOMIA is a reciprocal, legally binding agreement that ensures governments understand and commit to protect classified military information at an equivalent level of security, according to US documents.
Foreign Secretary Masud, However, said Bangladesh wants to diversify sourcing different kinds of equipment and defence related materials as part of the “Forces Goal-2030.”
Obviously, Bangladesh will think of procuring equipment from the US as per Bangladesh’s requirement in the future, he added.
Bangladesh finds good performance of the used equipment (boats) already given by the US to Bangladesh Coastguard and there was discussion between the two sides to get such boats in the future.
Masud recently visited the United States and accompanied Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US State Department on April 4.
The foreign secretary also led the Bangladesh delegation at the 8th Bangladesh-US Security Dialogue held in Washington.