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Dhaka Tribune

US applauds Bangladesh’s handling of regional challenges

  • Expresses concern about situation in Myanmar
  • Recognizes India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean 
Update : 18 Feb 2024, 03:17 PM

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Donald Lu, commended Bangladesh for its generosity in hosting over a million Rohingya refugees during a panel discussion at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. 

While discussing the Indo-Pacific strategy, Lu emphasized the need to support Bangladesh as it copes with the challenges posed by the Rohingya crisis and the broader instability in Myanmar.

Lu expressed concerns about the situation in Myanmar, stating that it was not improving. 

He highlighted the potential deepening of the refugee crisis and security issues affecting Bangladesh and potentially India in the coming days. 

He underscored the importance of enabling regional partners, particularly Bangladesh and India, to manage these stresses without leading to instability in their countries.

The assistant secretary also acknowledged the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, the largest in the world, and emphasized the willingness of the international community to collaborate in finding solutions for the refugees until it is safe for them to return. 

Lu’s remarks shed light on the Biden administration’s focus on addressing the complex challenges in the South Asian region, particularly about the Rohingya crisis and its implications for neighboring countries.

Addressing potential Chinese threats in the region, Lu emphasized the need to support Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, mentioning the US government’s provision of patrol boats to the Sri Lankan military. 

On the security front, he referred to the Indo-Pacific maritime domain awareness initiative, providing free, near real-time commercial satellite data to countries in the region, including South Asia, through the Indo-Pacific Information Sharing Centre.

Lu also touched upon his discussions with authorities in the Maldives, emphasizing that China could be a good partner only if faced with “real competition” from others. 

Additionally, he recognized India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean and the ongoing discussions between India and the US on collaborative efforts in littoral states in Africa.

The panel discussion marked two years of the Joe Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, with Lu providing insights into the US approach to regional challenges and collaborations.

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