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Satellite images reveal the progress of a dry dock at the BNS Sheikh Hasina naval base in Bangladesh, constructed with China’s assistance. This development signifies a deepening defense partnership between the two nations, potentially solidifying China’s influence in the Bay of Bengal region.

The BNS Sheikh Hasina base, located at Pekua in Cox’s Bazar, aligns with Bangladesh’s “Forces Goal 2030” program, a military modernization initiative. The base’s dry dock suggests maintenance capabilities for submarines, raising concerns for India.

The base’s proximity to the mouth of the Bay of Bengal positions Chinese assets, potentially including submarines from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), uncomfortably close to India’s Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Bangladesh, which already possesses two Chinese submarines, could potentially acquire more in the future. Additionally, there are anxieties that China might seek access to the base under the pretense of anti-piracy operations, granting them a strategic foothold in the region.

India has legitimate reasons to be apprehensive about this development. The presence of a Chinese-built submarine base within close proximity disrupts the regional balance of power. The possibility of PLAN submarines operating near Indian waters adds another layer of complexity to the already tense geopolitical situation in the Bay of Bengal.

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