Bangladesh spells out Indo-Pacific priorities
28th Apr, 2023
Bangladesh has decided to work with all stakeholders for peacekeeping, peace building and counter-terrorism initiatives in the region.
- The announcement on Dhaka’s Indo-Pacific priorities was made for the first time in a document titled “Bangladesher Indo-Pacific Ruprekha” (Indo-Pacific outlook).
- Bangladesh will aim for “inclusive development by strengthening free, transparent and rules-based international order.
- Along with the stakeholders concerned of the Indo-Pacific region, Bangladesh plans to make meaningful contributions to international disarmament, peacekeeping, peace building and counter-terror programmes and uphold the international values.
- This announcement is the first time that Bangladesh has spelt out its clear goals on the Indo-Pacific region and has adopted several conceptual parameters that are part of the thinking championed by India, U.S., Japan and Australia.
- The document also announced that Bangladesh will uphold the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that establishes rights and responsibilities of the UN member states while using the oceans of the world.
Why Bangladesh assumes significance?
- Bangladesh’s geographic location in the centre of the Indo-Pacific as well as its close proximity to the Bay of Bengal’s important maritime corridor gives it a distinct competitive edge.
- As Bangladesh is a significant player in the Indo-Pacific region since its participation both in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), geostrategic location, regional integration, social and economic development has made it important to Indo-Pacific region.
What is the message behind?
- The use of terms like “Indo-Pacific” as opposed to “Asia-Pacific” that are favoured by Beijing and Moscow indicates Bangladesh is trying to send a message to the leading western powers in the Indo-Pacific region.
What is Indo-Pacific Strategy?
- Indo-Pacific Strategy is a geographical approach; seeks to strengthen regional stability as well as economic development and security (both traditional and non-traditional) and partnerships through participation and cooperation within the Indo-Pacific region.
- The United States firstly took the initiative; introduced in November, 2017, after which other countries including Japan, Australia, South Korea, United Kingdom (UK), Canada, ASEAN have followed the same suit.
How different countries map the region?
- South Korea: It starts from the African coast of the Indian Ocean and stretches all the way to South America.
- Japan: For Japan, it starts from the eastern coast of Africa and expands to North America.
- US: For the US, it stretches from its Pacific coastline to South Asia. Australia's strategic emphasis is from the north-eastern side of the Indian Ocean to the Southwest Pacific.
- France: France's focus is on its overseas territories in this region.
Major policy frameworks
- The US introduced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
- Japan has its Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt initiative (BIG-B).