Kamran Reza Chowdhury
Officials say the US government has provided technical support for the unit
The Bangladesh Navy has intensified counter-terrorism efforts to combat crimes such as piracy, drugs and human trafficking via the Bay of Bengal, since Bangladesh got its maritime boundary set by an international court.
Petty criminals, arms and narcotics smugglers and the human traffickers often face no problems while operating via the bay because of an absence of Navy commandoes.
The Navy informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Defence Ministry Monday of the formation of the new commando unit, Special Warfare Diving and Salvage command.
Officials said the US government had provided technical support for the unit.
The Navy has been demanding a commando unit for a long time but the proposal had been put on hold for years.
‚ÄúThe Special Warfare Diving and Salvage Command has been formed to enhance the counter-terrorism capabilities of Bangladesh Navy,‚Äù said the working paper of the Defence Ministry placed before the parliamentary watchdog.
‚ÄúAnd this command has been working fine. It will combat all criminal activities in the Bay,‚Äù Shubid Ali Bhuiyan, a retired major general turned politician, told the Dhaka Tribune.
In the absence of strong governance in the Bay area, including the high seas, the criminals and traffickers from the south and Southeast Asian countries have been enjoying sanctuary in the Bangladesh waters.
‚ÄúThis unit can also take part in the operations against robbers such as the Somali pirates who took many Bangladeshi mariners hostage for hefty ransoms,‚Äù a navy official told the Dhaka Tribune.
He clarified that the members of the Special Warfare Diving and Salvage command would fight the pirates, if necessary, and the smugglers, by dividing into small groups.
‚ÄúThey are capable of facing any calamity including all non-traditional security threats,‚Äù he said.
Shubid Ali Bhuiyan presided over the meeting attended by the committee members Dipu Moni, Elias Uddin Mollah and Hosne Ara Begum.