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US-Bangladesh relationships taking a promising turn  

Published : Thursday, 16 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 885

US-Bangladesh relationships taking a promising turn  

US-Bangladesh relationships taking a promising turn  

Donald Lu, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, got started his journey to India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh from 10th of May with the purpose of enhancing bilateral cooperation with each country and showcasing US endorsement for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, and prosperous. A spokesperson at the US Department of State stated that he will engage in discussions with government officials, civil society leaders, and other individuals from Bangladesh to explore ways to enhance cooperation between the US and Bangladesh. The topics of focus will include tackling the climate crisis and strengthening economic relations.

The visit holds great importance due to the considerable shifts in the pre-election situation in Bangladesh. Bangladesh government will make confident efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries by focusing on geopolitical, business and regional security-related matters. Both governments shows enthusiasm related to this visit as it is expected to widen the opportunities for both of the countries in the coming years.

"The recent achievements in maintaining political stability, positive economic growth, and other socio-economic progresses have attracted the global powers and they all seem very interested in partnering with Bangladesh to be a part of it"- Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh.

US President, Joe Biden also indicated similar thoughts and expressed his commitment to the ongoing collaboration between the US and Bangladesh, emphasizing their shared goals in regional and global security, economic development, climate change and energy, global health, and humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugee.

The strategic location of Bangladesh makes it an important partner for the United States, given the increasing geopolitical competition and the shift in focus from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region, particularly South Asia. Bangladesh has been and is expected to remain a significant player in the dynamic regional power dynamics between India and China. Due to its geographical position in the northernmost point of the Bay of Bengal, it carried an integral part in the shifting geopolitical dynamics between China and India. This significance could be heightened by the exploitation of Bangladeshs energy reserves and the establishment of regional energy and trade corridors connecting to China and India. Therefore, the United States finds Bangladesh intriguing due to its significant involvement in the broader geopolitical landscape of South Asia.

To expand its influence in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific regions, the United States considers Bangladesh a vital ally. However, Bangladesh must exercise caution when considering the adoption of the Indo-Pacific Strategy advocated by the United States and its regional allies. This move could potentially strain Bangladeshs friendship with China. Thats why, it is crucial for Bangladesh to approach this matter with diplomacy and prioritize the balance of power to ensure long-term growth and prosperity.

US President Bidens letter clearly denotes their acceptance and support towards the incumbent government here in Bangladesh and their commitment towards strengthening the relationship is clearly expressed through it. The central focus of The US is mainly advancing the two nations relationship by concentrating on matters other than democratic values.

Not only the US but also other developed nations expressed their interest here in Bangladesh. Anne-Marie Trevelyans second visit to Bangladesh as the Indo-Pacific Minister could a good example of it.She reasserted the United Kingdoms dedication to enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two nations and declare a fresh allocation of £12 million ($15 million) from UK for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees and the communities in Coxs Bazar. The discussions were mostly centre around the cooperation between the UK and Bangladesh regarding migration, as well as trade and economic relations.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has sparked debate with his comments on visa policy, opposition parties, and their radical allies just before the previous national election. His withdrawal from Bangladesh has been a very strategic move from the Bidens administration. President Joe Biden announced the nomination of David Meale as the new US ambassador on 10th May, emphasizing Meales impressive career in foreign service. Meale currently serves as deputy chief of mission in Beijing, China, and has previously held the position of deputy chief of mission in Dhaka. With a strong background in trade policy, sanctions implementation, and various diplomatic postings, Meale brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the role.

Bangladesh has a long record of being involved in ancient Indo-Pacific connectivity, and it has made it clear that it will remain committed to fostering future connectivity in the region. Advocating and working for an open, resilient, and interconnected Indo-Pacific is crucial for Bangladeshs sustained independence, sovereignty, and prosperity. To keep US dominance in Indo-pacific region, Bangladesh could play a vital role for US in the regional politics here in South Asia. Establishment of a balanced political understanding and healthy business relationship will be beneficial for both countries as they navigate the next 50 years.

The writer is a Lecturer, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka

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