The revenue authority has given the go-ahead to join the critical maritime routes Indo-Pacific project CRIMARIO-II of the European Union (EU).
The initiative will help ensure maritime security and drug trafficking through security software.
CRIMARIO-II is a four-year EU-funded project at €7.5 million. Expertise France is the implementer.
It will be executed exclusively in South Asian and South-East Asian countries.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) recently reviewed the project in line with foreign ministry's recommendations.
NBR administration member Bashir Ahmed in a letter to foreign secretary gave the board's consent for the sake of maritime safety and checking drug trafficking.
The NBR, however, suggests prioritising the geographical security and strategic position of Bangladesh to join the project.
Earlier, the CRIMARIO-I project worked on the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) on maritime domain awareness through information sharing, building and training.
The second stage of the project is the continuation of the first one to extend the area.
A senior foreign ministry official says they are compiling stakeholders' opinions ahead of joining the project.
Navy, customs, defence, finance ministry and other stakeholders' consent is necessary and some of them have already responded positively, he tells the FE.
The official further says that the Maldives and Sri Lanka have already joined the initiative, and foreign missions of Bangladesh in those countries have shared positive outcomes.
Recently, EU special envoy for the Indo-Pacific Gabriele Visentin said they were waiting for Bangladesh's response to the EU offer to use a maritime awareness system named CRIMARIO.
Both navies and coastguards can be benefitted using the software. It can help them know instantly what exactly is happening at sea.
On June 2020, the EU launched CRIMARIO-II, a project developed to support partner countries and organisations to secure sea lines of communication that are vital for international trade and prosperity, according to the EU CRIMARIO website.
"CRIMARIO-II continues the process begun by CRIMARIO-I (2015-2019), which was originally established to enhance maritime domain awareness (MDA) through information sharing, training and capacity building in the WIO region," writes Martin Cauchi Inglott, CRIMARIO-II team leader, on the site.
This was approached through the creation of an information sharing and incident management tool among others and through an extensive programme of training in maritime data processing analysis and visualisation to strengthen regional maritime capabilities.
CRIMARIO-II will build on the experience of CRIMARIO-I by expanding its geographical scope towards South and Southeast Asia with a view to contributing to a safer and more secure maritime domain, through cross-sectoral, inter-agency and cross-regional cooperation.
These objectives reflect the EU's priority towards deepening security cooperation with its Asian partners taking into account shared maritime security interests.
Two interlinked areas of action have been identified and will be explored in cooperation with potential partners include enhancing information exchange and analysis, and crisis or incident management which will be implemented in both WIO and Asian countries.
Another one is to strengthen inter-agency maritime surveillance, policing, investigation and judiciary, and support nations improve compliance and adherence with relevant international legal instruments and regional arrangements.
The project aims to support partners in developing systems and mechanisms which improve MDA and also to facilitate the exchange of information.
Capacity building and training in MDA and law enforcement will also be offered to partner countries and organisations, always with a view to promoting good governance and stability at sea.