Bangladesh has signed a deal with France for the purchase of 10 Airbus aircraft worth USD 3.2 billion. French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held talks to boost bilateral ties. Macron’s visit to Dhaka is seen as a move by France to consolidate its Asia-Pacific strategy and counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region.
During the talks, Macron mentioned the importance of strengthening the independence and strategic autonomy of Bangladesh. The discussions also involved a potential contract for Bangladesh’s flagship carrier Biman Airline to purchase ten A350s from Airbus. Biman had previously bought aircraft from Boeing.
In addition to the aircraft deal, a letter of intent was signed for the provision of an earth observation satellite system. This cooperation between Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited (BSCL) and Airbus Defense and Space SAS aims to enhance monitoring capabilities for crops and the sea. Bangladesh had previously procured its first geostationary communications and broadcasting satellite from France.
Macron’s visit to Bangladesh is part of France’s strategy to enhance its engagement in the region. France is Bangladesh’s fifth-largest trading partner, particularly in sectors such as engineering, energy, aerospace, and water.
The talks also focused on stability in the Asia-Pacific region and addressing the impacts of climate change. Macron praised Bangladesh for its economic growth and population size. He visited a memorial dedicated to Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, before the bilateral talks with Prime Minister Hasina.
The strategic move between Bangladesh and France is expected to contribute to regional and global stability and peace. France has reiterated its commitment to facilitate trade with Bangladesh under the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme, which promotes sustainable development and good governance.
Overall, the visit signifies France’s efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with Bangladesh and establish a third way in the Asia-Pacific region, amid the rivalry between China and the United States.