Bangladesh-US security dialogue held in Washington

Talks at foreign secretary-level held for the first time 

Bangladesh and the United States (US) on Wednesday held the 8th "Security Dialogue" and discussed issues of mutual interests in a broader security sphere.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation while Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Denise Jenkins led the US delegation at the dialogue that began at 9am (Washington DC time) Wednesday.

It continued till 4pm (Washington DC time).

For the first time, a foreign secretary-level security dialogue between the two countries was held instead of a DG-level.

During US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland's recent Bangladesh visit, the US shared a draft on the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) which is seen as a "gateway" to do more on the security front.

"We're very confident that we'll be able to get the issue settled so that we can do more on the security side together," she told reporters during a joint media briefing in Dhaka.

The US is pushing to conclude certain foundational defence agreements – GSOMIA and Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA), which are "essential" to enabling a closer defence relationship, expanding opportunities for defence trade, information sharing, and military-to-military cooperation between two countries.

Bangladesh says it is still examining the proposals.

For 50 years, the US and Bangladesh have enjoyed cordial diplomatic ties and partnered on a wide range of security issues, including border security, maritime security, counterterrorism, peacekeeping, defence trade, and defence institution building, according to the US Department of State.

The US engages Bangladesh through several bilateral and multilateral fora.

The two governments continue to work together to advance a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific.

Since 2015, the US has provided $66.9 million in foreign military financing (FMF) and $7.29 million in international military education and training (IMET) assistance to Bangladesh.

FMF assistance includes $10 million in bilateral programming and $56.9 million in Bay of Bengal Initiative Regional FMF.

The US Department of State's Bay of Bengal Initiative, through support provided via FMF, seeks to enhance the capacity of civilian and military actors to detect illicit activity within their borders and in the region.

Also, it aims to build networks and habits of cooperation to enable countries to share information, develop their capacity to respond promptly to illicit activity, and support our partners in enabling a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean.