Strategic location, huge population and manufacturing capabilities make Bangladesh important for the strategy, US officials say at State Department briefing
Bangladesh is important for Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) on its own merits, not for any other geopolitical factors as perceived by many, according to officials of the United States.
Strategic location, huge population thus a huge market, and manufacturing capabilities are some of the qualities that make Bangladesh important for the US’ flagship strategy, the officials said on Tuesday, during a State Department briefing through webinar.
Laura Stone, deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and JoAnne Wagner, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Dhaka, addressed the briefing and answered questions on different issues.
In reply to a question, Stone said Bangladesh’s importance with respect to the IPS has nothing to do with containing China or any other countries.
Rather, she said, Bangladesh earned its importance for its enormous potentials, including what she described as “incredible people.”
It is a positive strategy, not a negative one, she added.
Replying to another question, the deputy assistant secretary acknowledged that Bangladesh-India relationship is important, but pointed out that Bangladesh’s role in the IPS does not involve any other countries.
Asked about the popular perception that the IPS is to counter China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, she denied the notion outright.
Talking about Dhaka’s importance, Deputy Chief of Mission Wagner mentioned that people and businesses of the US have started to realize what Bangladesh can offer.
She mentioned Bangladesh’s strategic location, population of 165 million, and Dhaka’s position as a manufacturing hub.
Bangladesh is a global leader on its own right, and the US government is excited to work with its Bangladeshi counterpart.
Both the officials placed great emphasis on democracy, good governance, human rights, transparency and rule of law.
Burden of Rohingyas should be on Myanmar
Responding to questions on the Rohingya crisis, Stone said the ultimate burden of the Rohingyas should be on Myanmar.
Profusely praising Bangladesh for its generosity for the Rohingyas, she said the US government is aware of the negative impacts if the crisis lingers.
The US government and the international partners are pressing Myanmar to create a condition where Rohingyas can return to their home in a safe and dignified manner, she added, detailing the measures taken so far in relation to the protracted crisis.
Wagner informed that the US is so far the single largest donor to the humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh.