Realising the growing importance of economy and security, the US is moving away from its old idea of Bangladesh and is looking to chart the next 50 years of relationship between the two countries in a new way, a top US official has said.
Ambassador Kelly Keiderling said traditionally Bangladesh was known as a garment manufacturer and a poor LDC. Now the US is has a modern idea of Bangladesh being a vibrant economy and a major contributor to world security in terms of UN peacekeeping.
“Bangladesh keeps watch on the international transnational crimes, along with human and drug trafficking along the Indian Ocean rim. These are also elements of global security.”
Keiderling, South and Central Asian affairs bureau deputy assistant secretary for public diplomacy and Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, said Bangladesh is also providing software products to the international cyber world and it is important for the US to interact with Bangladesh on the topic.
“We are excited about our future relationship with Bangladesh,” Keiderling told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
She left Dhaka on Thursday after a three-day visit,during which she joined the Indian Ocean Rim Association ministerial meeting, held talks with Bangladeshi government officials, including the Prime Minister’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman, and also with civil society and interfaith leaders.
She said the Biden administration has decided, bureaucratically inside the State Department, to separate India from five other South Asian countries to deepen US relationships with them, and there will be devoted officials for that purpose.
“We want your [Bangladesh’s] experience and expertise to oversee the [US] relationship with Bangladesh and other South Asian countries because we don’t want our relationship with these five countries to get lost in the one with India.”