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Dhaka Tribune

US envoy affirms commitment to peaceful, inclusive Indo-Pacific vision

  • ‘US is paving way for a region that not only endures but thrives’
  • US ambassador applauds Bangladesh’s vision
Update : 09 Oct 2023, 03:39 PM

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Monday said that they firmly believe that “competition” in the Indo-Pacific is not about forcing countries to choose, but it is about offering an alternative vision based on respect, prosperity, and partnership.

“It’s my hope that our definition of competition in this region allows us to renew our sense of purpose and reinvigorate our commitment to a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

The US ambassador was speaking at a plenary session on “Defining Competition in the Indo-Pacific”, moderated by Zillur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Governance Studies and chairman of Bay of Bengal Conversation.

Jeremy Bruer, Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh; Lilly Nicholls, Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh; and Sarah Cooke, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, also spoke at the event.

“Together,” Ambassador Haas said, they stand as stewards of stability, prosperity, and inclusivity.

By championing democracy, human rights, and open dialogue, he said, the US is paving the way for a region that not only endures but thrives.

“Through the recognition of our sovereign foreign policy prerogatives, we forge partnerships that are based on mutual respect, shared aspirations, and, especially in the case of our friends on this panel, partnerships and alliances that transcend borders and stand as a testament to our collective commitment to a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” said the US ambassador.

Quoting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Ambassador Haas said: “The Indo-Pacific region must be an area of peace and prosperity for all. Our vision for the region is to have a free, open, peaceful, secure, and inclusive region.”

The United States wholeheartedly agrees to this vision, he said.

Looking to the future, Haas said, it is in everyone’s interest to protect that freedom, that openness. “And I’d also like to add to that diversity, that makes the Indo-Pacific such a dynamic engine of growth and prosperity, not just for the citizens of the region, but for the entire world.”

He said they collectively champion a resolute commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, fostering robust economic integration, and safeguarding the sanctity of maritime commons.

“We are also collectively committed to relying on our alliances and partnerships with each other, and others in the region, to achieve these aims. This is absolutely central to our approach,” he said.

The US ambassador said they applaud Bangladesh’s vision of a “free, open, peaceful, secure, and inclusive Indo-Pacific” and note significant overlap with their own, including on issues such as freedom of navigation and overflight; open, transparent, and rules-based multilateral systems; and environmental resilience.

“Here we also underscore that just as we seek a free and open region, we believe we can only truly fulfil these visions when we apply those principles domestically as well,” Haas said.

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