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Delhi & Dhaka go into huddle as boat carrying ‘Chinese Arms’ seized in Bangladesh

In a sensational development, top Bangladeshi military officials have come under scanner of the Sheikh Hasina government after Chinese boats carrying arms entered Bangladesh waters and arms were smuggled into the country allegedly for local extremist groups and insurgent outfits in northeast India. 

ET has learnt that no less than top leadership of the coast guard has come under scanner of Bangladesh government for its role in the alleged smuggling case. Dhaka has apprised Delhi of the latest development and is investigating the role of foreign powers in creating disturbance ahead of elections in Bangladesh. Security establishments of both sides are coordinating closely in this case. 

It is understood that the smuggled arms had reached Dhaka and may be used to create unrest ahead of elections towards the end of the year. The first cache of arms was allegedly smuggled in December 2016 through Chittagong port. This is reminiscent of the 2004 incident when 10 trucks of Chinese arms meant for ULFA & other terror groups were nabbed in Chittagong. Tareque Zia, son of then-PM Khaleda Zia, was later found to be involved in the smuggling case. 

In the new cases, when arms were smuggled or tried to be smuggled, coast guard ships were curiously missing from the coastal waters, raising suspicion of role of senior officers, hinted persons familiar with the matter. 

Bangladeshi officials suspect that these arms are also meant to disturb India’s northeastern states which have witnessed peace since the Sheikh Hasina government handed over all insurgent leaders hiding in her country to Delhi in 2009. The Coast Guard has not yet ordered enquiry into the smuggling incidents and this have raised suspicion about role of its leadership in the episode.

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