Bangladesh needs long-term security planning to continue its development
Since its birth, Bangladesh has gone through a lot of hurdles. Despite many obstacles, we have proven that we can overcome those hurdles with success. From the rise of the “Bhasha Andolon” to fighting for democracy, our country and its citizens have created a great legacy of perseverence.
Collectively, the Bengali people have taken pride in the way they have struggled for a sovereign nation. Therefore, at any given time, Bengali people are ready to take up challenges of any nature. But to face challenges of the 21st century, we would need to plan ahead for our national security.
Planning in every sphere is necessary -- God has gifted Bangladesh among the most fertile lands in the world, but nature has been unkind to us on many occasions. We will need to ensure that these resources can be used for the greater purpose of serving our sovereign nation and its people. To even preserve these resources, we need to have a strong backbone, that is, improve our security, which is a cornerstone for development. Countries with the greatest security measures tend to enjoy prosperity eventually.
Bangladesh as a country should not go through any different formula. We have observed countries which have been reduced to rubble, despite owning very expensive and rare resources. The time has come for us to learn from these mistakes and act accordingly. Due to neo-liberal economic policies, and the negative impacts of globalization, countries have strived to adopt a certain method, and often struggled to keep up their economic cycle.
The blame game has never helped when the poor spoke against the rich, and therefore, our policy should be to take all the necessary measures before we come to such desperation. Bangladeshi people believe in liberty and have always disliked external interventions. We should have similar views for the future for the best interest of the country.
Bangladesh should always be vigilant about both national and international threats. In recent times, Bangladesh has faced problems with the exploration of oil and gas. The matter cannot be taken lightly, and proper measures should be taken along with diplomatic solutions, so that we don’t have misunderstandings or tensions with our neighbouring nations.
Both India and Myanmar had vetoed Bangladesh’s peaceful exploration of oil and gas within its own region back in 2008. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the verdict on December 18, 2013 was given in favour of Bangladesh. The disputes with Myanmar were resolved on March 14, 2012.
The purchase of submarines from China caused a huge uproar in the neighbouring countries. But the government has maintained a strong policy towards purchasing them to safeguard its maritime boundaries.
Additionally, in recent times, more frigates will be purchased, and the government is taking all the necessary initiatives to build its own ships.
Bangladesh has already proven its excellence in building ships, and hence, would continue to do so. Improvement in this sector will not only secure the country’s maritime boundaries but also its economy.
Bangladesh has always stood for the oppressed because Bangladesh itself was subjected to oppression, and knows how it feels to be oppressed. The recent crisis of the Rohingya migrants has brought pressure on Bangladesh both economically and politically -- Bangladesh has done an admirable job, however, in coping with the situation. Looking after the migrants and their immediate needs is a steep cost for Bangladesh, and the Myanmar government should be partially responsible to pay for these problems.
At the border, there are many provocative intrusions by the Myanmar army to infiltrate the borders.
These intrusions need to be handled with political dialogues and proper patrolling. In recent years, the Bnagladesh government has purchased defense machinery and equipment.
This signifies that such armaments were necessary to face the possible threats of the future. I see these purchases as a leap towards a more secure future.
For regional peace and stability, it is important to have good relations with our neighbours. India remains one of the most important allies of Bangladesh, and their strategic help is very important for us to continue to grow and prosper as a nation. We should also not forget that as a people of this nation, it is important for each and every one of us to stay together, and help the country to realize its longterm visions.
Yead Mahmood is a lawyer.