Monday, 27 January 2020

The Present Prospects of Bangladesh Foreign Policy


The Current Prospects of Bangladesh in International Affairs: What is happening now?

Countries make friends with others because they can help each other in need.

1/ The close tie with India
the Bangladesh government under the leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina has a good relationship with its neighbouring country, India.

Swapping enclave: The long waited India-Bangladesh enclave exchange deal was implemented (July 31 in 2015) by the two governments. Now 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India are attached to the respective nations. A chitmahal or enclave is described as a sovereign piece of land fully surrounded by another sovereign country.

High-level official visits occur between the two countries on a regular basis.

Visa processing and travelling to India have become easier.

Trade and business relationship: so many treaties signed

Power plants:  Rampal coal-fired power plant (1320 MW) is being set up by Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL), a joint venture between Bangladesh's BPDB and India's NTPC.

The transit and transshipments: Bangladesh is going to allow transhipment of Indian products via Mongla and Chittagong Seaports (from January 2020) without charging transit fees and customs duties. However, India will be required to pay taxes for using ports and pay fees for using roads. Time as well as distance has gone down to 1/3 for transporting products through Bangladesh instead of present Indian routes.

For the educational needs, the Indian government provides scholarships to students who are descendants of Muktijoddhas.

2/ Solving maritime dispute with India and Myanmar
By the judgment of ITLOS (2012), Bangladesh’s sovereign rights in the Bay of Bengal is now recognised and guaranteed. Bangladesh has also finished an old dispute over a sea border with its neighbouring country, India through the Court of Arbitration. The undisputed rights help the country to promote its blue economy (fish and natural resources beneath). 

3/ Good relationship with Russia
The Rooppur nuclear power plant is being built in Pabna with cooperation with Russia. Moreover, Russia provides scholarships to the Bangladeshi students to study nuclear science in their country so the trained officials can run the nuclear plant.

Bangladesh buys helicopters and other military equipment from Russia (the world’s second-largest weapons exporter). Moreover, Russian Helicopters will train BGB members for operating and maintaining helicopters and military hardware.

Bangladesh imports RMG, seafood and leather items to Russia and Russia exports machinery equipment, fertilizers, crops, raw materials for the textile industry and so on to Bangladesh.

4/ Japan and Bangladesh relation
Japan is always friendly towards Bangladesh. The Meghna Bridge was built with assistance from the Japanese government. Japan's International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has committed to give $400 million for the Padma Bridge. Japan usually cooperates the country with the construction of development projects because Japan can sell cars and other electronics parts and machines to receiving countries. Furthermore, it wants to gain supports from Bangladesh for the bid to join the UN Security Council, and secure markets for their finished goods and services.

Matarbari deep seaport: With funding from Japan (JICA), the Bangladesh government is going to build a deep seaport near Cox's Bazar. Japan also assists Bangladesh to construct a coal-fired power plant (1,200-megawatt) and a modern township at Matarbari (Maheshkhali Upazila, Cox's Bazar).

5/ Sino-Bangladesh relations
In 1976, 5 years after Bangladesh’s independence, China-Bangladesh diplomatic relations, friendship and cooperation were established and consolidated.

Bangladesh imports most goods from China and China is the top trading partner of the country. Chinese government involves in economic and technical cooperation, investment, power, culture and tourism. The country will also aid rice to the Rohingya. China has shown an interest in joining in blue economy of Bangladesh.

Due to the geopolitical importance of Bangladesh, China has deepened its strategic influence in the region (India's immediate neighbours) with its economic expansion. Keeping close defence ties with Bangladesh, China, a reliable and affordable source, provides weapons, equipment, military technology and training to the Bangladeshi armed forces. Moreover, 2 Ming class submarines were also imported from China.

The Padma Bridge: China Major Bridge Engineering Company builds a major road-rail project across the Padma River and Exim Bank of China provides money for constructing the rail link accompanying the Padma Bridge.

Payra Deep-sea Port in Patuakhali, a Belt and Road Initiative project is being constructed by two Chinese state-owned enterprises named CHEC and CSCEC. Outside of the port area, the Payra Power Plant (1,320 MW coal-based power plants) is being implemented by Bangladesh-China Power Company Limited (BCPCL) with funds from Chinese Exim Bank.

6/ The United States of America and Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s biggest export market is in the USA. The United States exports agricultural products, machinery, iron and steel products to Bangladesh. The U.S.A. imports apparel, footwear, textile products, headgear, and agricultural products from Bangladesh. 

The USA has provided money to improve the lives of Bangladeshis and the U.S.A. involvement with the Government of Bangladesh is helping produce more food, construct more roads, and develop more teachers, skilled health care providers, and soldiers.  Moreover, the USA provides humanitarian support (the largest donor to the Rohingya refugee crisis) to about 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.  

7/ Bangladesh & Middle Eastern countries
The Middle East is the biggest international job market (the largest share of remittance) for Bangladeshi people. The country also depends on remittance and oil from the Middle Eastern countries. 

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