Bangladesh and US engagement is intensifying in line with the growing Washington’s interest in the moderate Muslim country. The visit of Bangladesh foreign minister, Dipu Moni, in Washington last September and her US counterpart, Hilary Rodham Clinton, counter visit in Dhaka in May and subsequent signing of a Partnership Dialogue are manifestation of the growing relation.
The first consultation under the partnership dialogue will be held in September where foreign secretary Mohammed Mijarul Quayes will lead the Bangladesh side while US delegation will be led by Political Affairs under secretary at the State Department, Wendy Sherman, the third influential person in the US foreign ministry.
Bangladesh is a moderate Muslim country where democracy is practiced and its policies are value-driven and all these factors have immense importance to US. Bangladesh’s zero-tolerance stance against extremism has also paved a way for more security cooperation between the countries. Now US is providing training to Bangladesh’s law enforcing agencies and defence force and there is also a possibility of having more military-to-military cooperation in the future. Washington also wants to explore the growing business opportunities to expand trade and women empowerment through providing jobs in the textiles sector is another area where US has interest.
In the regional context, Bangladesh has adopted a good neighbour policy under which it pursues more engagement with regional countries. Bangladesh-India relationship has reached a new high with extensive diplomatic engagement and it also pursues regional cooperation in the area of trade, energy, water and other areas. Washington has immense interest in the South Asian regional in particular and Asia in general.
From the country perspective and regional context, Bangladesh’s importance in the US is growing. Washington wants a predictable behaviour of Dhaka. The more predictable behaviour US wants from Bangladesh, the more bargaining chips Dhaka will have. If Bangladesh can play its card right, in the predictable future, it can gain many things from this relationship.