A senior Chinese diplomat on Sunday denied reports that Beijing was planning to build a military base in Bangladesh, The Daily Star reported.
On March 11, a report in Nikkei Asia claimed that China was preparing to build a maintenance facility for a surface-to-air missile system in Bangladesh. The missile system had been supplied to Bangladesh in 2011.
However, China’s Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming, said that the country would not set up a military base in a foreign country, including Bangladesh, according to The Daily Star.
The report in Nikkei Asia had quoted a senior Bangladeshi diplomat saying that Bangladesh and China had agreed on building a maintenance facility for surface-to-air missile systems. The development had caused alarm in India, according to the report.
The Bangladeshi diplomat had claimed that a formal announcement on the building of the facility had been complicated by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“Beijing and Dhaka want to keep this development under wraps currently as China is under increasing scrutiny from the West – particularly the US – for upsetting the security balance in Asia with its territorial aggression,” the diplomat had said.
In March 2021, Sweden-based think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute had said that Bangladesh had been the second-largest buyer of arms from China between 2016 and 2020.
This is not the first time that media reports have hinted at the possibility of China building military bases in countries bordering India.
In November, a report by The Pentagon had claimed that China could build overseas military bases in countries such as Sri Lanka, according to The Hindu.
In response, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka had pointed to the United States military bases in foreign countries.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted a senior Bangladeshi diplomat as saying to Nikkei Asia that Bangladesh and China have agreed to build a military base. The portion has been changed to reflect that the diplomat referred to a maintenance facility for surface-to-air missile systems. The error is regretted.