Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Geopolitical Importance of Bangladesh

Understanding the growing strategic importance of Bangladesh
We are in an advantageous position due to our geographical position. Here are some:  

Regional Connectivity: Because of our geographic position, we have a strategic advantage over India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal. We are not landlocked and we have a balanced sharing of land and sea. So, Bangladesh has many doors opened.

World leaders now understand that war is not a solution but trade is mutually beneficial for all the countries. International trade includes many factors and transport cost is one of the dominant elements. Regional connectivity can decrease the transport cost and promote trade & business (export-import, tourism, Foreign Direct Investments - FDI) in this area. It will be a win-win situation for South Asian countries if regional transport connectivity is properly built and managed.

Bangladesh is a close neighbor of two emerging giants of the world: China and India (2 leading members of BRICS) and one side boundary with Myanmar which is a Chinese friend. Moreover, Bangladesh is situated at the head of the Bay of Bengal as a bridge between 2 regional blocs - SAARC & ASEAN. So countries can use short-cut ways to bypass long road/route and thus reduce time & cost.

BD strategic geo political importance
Source: Cacahuate wiki

Bangladesh has already become a hub of regional connectivity. Influential countries like China, Japan, Russia, India want to make investments in infrastructure and communications. They have already shown their interest in road building, deep sea port etc. We must utilize this golden opportunity. These investments will boost our economy and increase employment. It will be helpful to diversify our economy and be less dependent on RMG sector.

Bangladesh gave India permission to use the Chittagong and Mongla ports. China helps Chittagong port manage its huge traffic. Both China & India are providing finance to construct different parts of the Payra deep-sea port project. Furthermore, Japan is also financing Matarbari deep-sea port.

Multimodal transit and transshipment: India can cut about 1000 kilometers of distance and 150 hours taking advantage of transit through Bangladesh.

Nepal, Bangladesh trial bus service reached India and it came under the purview of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (which was signed for enabling movement of passenger and cargo vehicles).

# Security: For several security concerns, some big players in the international level want to work with Bangladesh. For example, for preventing extremism and stabilizing this area, India needs Bangladesh. USA and Russia want to maintain their presences in the area because the location contains rising powers like China, Pakistan, and India. Moreover, USA wants to establish a naval base at Bangladesh’s territorial seas.

# Blue Economy
The Bay of Bengal gives Bangladesh opportunities to navigate across the world and explore the untapped blue economy. She has got plentiful natural resources like gas and oil, huge hydro-electrical potential, abundant fresh water, seafood, rich soil, natural attractions for a better tourist industry and other advantages (shipping and port facilities).

Conclusion: For our geographical position in the world map, we not only have some advantages but also face natural calamities. Because of our location, we will have to bear climate change’s disastrous impact. However, we have many opportunities which we must catch.

It will take time to achieve in the South Asian region what the European nations (EU) have achieved. Because of non-cooperation among some countries, many initiatives had been ruined.


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