Sunday, Jul 22, 2018
Government | Asia-Pacific | Bangladesh

Bangladesh and Russia

Russia to help build 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant

3 years ago

President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
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With strong relations dating back to the war of liberation in 1971, Bangladesh and Russia are seeing a closer and more comprehensive partnership spanning over law and justice, counter terrorism, education, culture, healthcare and medical sciences, agriculture as well as nuclear energy

Bangladesh has historically very strong ties with Russia. In 1971 the former Soviet Union stood by the country in its journey towards independence, later supporting Bangladesh’s reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts and development of its war-damaged economy. Relations are set to expand rapidly with the proposed establishment of an intergovernmental commission for cooperation in the areas of trade, economic and scientific and technical issues.

In recent years, the Bangladesh government has decided to widen and deepen Dhaka’s engagements with Moscow in a mutually beneficial manner. In line with this policy, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2013.

President Putin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held detailed discussions on the status of existing bilateral relations and prospects of further cooperation between their two nations in various fields and on a number of important regional and international issues. Both sides have acknowledged the consistent development of political dialogue between the countries and the considerable progress achieved in deepening bilateral ties, which hold significant potential for
further collaboration.

During the visit, a number of important legal instruments were signed, including an Inter-Ministerial Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of law and justice, education, culture, healthcare and medical sciences and agriculture. An agreement on creating a Nuclear Energy Information Center in Dhaka was also reached.

Inter-governmental agreements on providing state credit to Bangladesh to finance the preparatory works of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant construction were also signed. The Russian side confirmed the intention of its engineering company Technopromexport to take part both in the reconstruction of the power generation facilities which were established with Russian assistance and in the construction of new power generation facilities. Other areas of priority for cooperation include boosting the inter-parliamentary mechanisms of cooperation and more frequent contacts in the fields of culture and mass media.

Russia is assisting Bangladesh in building a 2,000MW power plant in Rooppur. The first of its kind in Bangladesh, it is considered to be a milestone in tackling the increasing power demand in the backdrop of a rapidly growing economy. Apart from technical assistance, Russia is providing a loan of $500 million to offset the total construction cost of $2 billion. Moreover, Russia’s state-owned energy firm Gazprom has been awarded contracts for drilling wells in existing gas fields in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the Bangladesh state-owned exploration company, BAPEX.

Russia is also assisting Bangladesh in building a 2,000MW power plant in Rooppur. The first of its kind in Bangladesh, it is considered to be a milestone in tackling the increasing power demand in the backdrop of a rapidly growing economy

Both countries are also enjoying growing trade relations, where the current bilateral trade is worth more than $700 million, which is much less than the potential. Talks to allow Bangladesh duty-free access to the Russian Federation market look promising, particularly after its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in keeping with the commitments made in the WTO in respect of the LDCs like Bangladesh. Furthermore, Bangladesh is seeking Russia’s assistance in getting duty-free, quota-free access for its products into the recently established Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (other members include Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan).

The future: further cooperation and growth

It is clear that the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has placed the relationship on a firm footing. The establishment of an intergovernmental commission, co-chaired by the two respective foreign ministers, would be the basis for an expanded relationship between the two countries. In addition, a Bangladesh-CIS Joint Chamber of Commerce has been created, while agreements for on-arrival visa facilities have also been signed.

Both countries are engaged in discussions about various ways of broader economic engagements, especially engaging the private sectors, particularly creating more congenial two-way trade and investment opportunities including exchange of cultural delegations.

The robust bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the Russian Federation are transforming fast into a truly comprehensive and cooperative relationship – one that has already attained great dimensions and will continue to grow further in the years ahead for the mutual benefit of the people of both nations.




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