Bangladesh global leader in its own right: US

The United States considers that Bangladesh is a regional and global leader based in its own right and distinct foreign policy.

“It’s very clear that Bangladesh is a regional and global leader in its own right, its own distinct foreign policy, its own global interest, and our relationship with Bangladesh is based on that...,” Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Dhaka JoAnne Wagner said on Tuesday.

She was replying to a question on the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy which is perceived by many as a China containment policy in the region.

The United States Department of State  hosted the virtual briefing with Deputy Assistant Secretary Laura Stone, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and the US Embassy Dhaka’s Deputy Chief of Mission on the ‘U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy with a focus on U.S.-Bangladesh relations’.

One journalist asked about the US’s relations with India in the region.

Relationship with India is “obviously very important”, the deputy chief of mission said. India plays a crucial role and they have good relations with India.

“But there is no intention to have that overwhelm the relationship, for example, with Bangladesh. The US is not seeking to create a relationship with India that is anyway skewed or be problematic for other countries,” she said, adding that the ‘Indo’ in Indo-Pacific refers to Indian Ocean, not India.

She said the US seeks India’s support in the region as there are some specific challenges and those are some kind of things that a ‘good partner does’.

The US is “very excited” to work with Bangladesh also under the Indo-Pacific Strategy and also in terms of bilateral relations to find ways through the energy projects, health programmes and many others to work together.

“Free and open Indo-Pacific, we believe will only add prosperity to other countries including Bangladesh”.

The deputy chief of mission said Bangladesh is important because of its strategic location, large population and incredible manufacturing as well as financial base and this draws American companies and business to partner with Bangladesh.

Laura Stone said Bangladesh has enormous potential and is an important country because of the incredible population that you have.

“The Indo-Pacific is not a containment strategy. It's the US's policy towards the region. It's an extremely important policy. It’s important because of the way it is articulated.”

She said they are open to work with all countries.

The Trump administration's Indo-Pacific strategy’s vision is to have a stable, free, and open region.

Through this strategy, the US administration says, they promote shared values, prosperity, and security.

“Our vision for the Indo-Pacific codifies what many of us already understood:  the stability ensured by free and transparent governments, and the security promoted through an open and rules-based order have the potential to unlock trillions of dollars more of private sector investment in the region.  And that means an unmistakable boost in opportunity and prosperity,” US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl Miller, earlier, said.

The Indo-Pacific region is a geopolitical area that spans two regions of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean stretching from the west coast of the United States to the west coast of India.