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  1. The Bangladesh and United States are set to sign two important bilateral defence agreements including: General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) GSOMIA The GSOMIA is a foundational government-to-government bilateral agreement that will permit greater collaboration and sharing of classified military information in the form of intelligence and classified information US defence equipment. GSOMIA is a reciprocal, legally-binding agreement that ensures governments understand and commit to protect classified military information at an equivalent level of security. “It does not obligate or commit governments to share classified information or material, it only ensures equivalent protection of the information if shared,” the official said. Washington has GSOMIA agreements with 76 partners across the globe, including several countries in South Asia. GSOMIA serves to strengthen cooperation to advance shared interests of trusted partners. As the US-Bangladesh relationship continues to grow, GSOMIA is essential to enabling the cooperation we both seek. “For Foreign Military Sales (FMS) or GSOMIA, our security authorities would work closely with your security authorities to develop a security plan and standard operating procedures to implement required security measures.” ACSA The purpose of the ACSA is to allow the US and partner nation forces to procure and pay for common types of logistical support, supplies, and services in a way that simplifies cooperation. “ACSA agreements do not in any way commit a partner nation to military action nor do they authorise the stationing of ships, aircraft, or military personnel in foreign countries.” “They only serve to simplify the procurement and payment of logistic support, supplies, and services between partner forces,” said the official. The United States has an ACSA agreement with over 100 countries, including India and Sri Lanka. As a mutual logistics support agreement, for example, an ACSA could facilitate the transfer of fuel from the Bangladesh military to visiting US naval ships participating in the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. “It could also improve the United States’ ability to respond to any potential humanitarian or natural disasters involving Bangladesh and facilitate the transfer of fuel from the US military to Bangladesh naval ships operating outside of their normal areas; thereby eliminating the need to contract with commercial vendors,” the official said to cite an example.
  2. The French Defence Minister Florence Parly is visiting Bangladesh today in a mission to sell Rafale multi-role combat aircraft and unmanned combat aerial vehicles amongst other military hardware. https://www.defseca.com/procurements/france-offers-rafale-fighters-armed-uavs-to-bangladesh/
  3. Bangladesh Navy and Army have conducted the first ever joint defence exercise with the US and the UK military forces to promote regional stability as well as ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. https://www.defseca.com/military/tri-nation-special-forces-exercise-held-in-bangladesh/
  4. Bangladesh strongly protest remarks of US Senator Grassley It expects correction on his narrative, understanding about Bangladesh The Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, DC has categorically rejected the remarks on Bangladesh made by US Senator Chuck Grassley, saying what the senator said was farthest from the truth. "The Embassy clearly states that the remarks made by Senator Grassley are not only biased and motivated but also absolutely contradictory to the 2019 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)," the Bangladesh embassy said in a statement, strongly protesting his remarks. It said the embassy is surprised to see that Senator Grassley had stated in his op-ed that citizens of Bangladesh live under an authoritarian regime and face persecution for faith and religious beliefs, reports UNB. Bangladesh is a secular democracy, where people from all faiths live in peace and harmony, the embassy said. The statement further said the embassy is extremely disappointed to see that instead of appreciating the democratic government of Bangladesh for sheltering more than 1.1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar, who were persecuted in their own country for their religion and ethnicity, Senator Grassley has opted for complete subjectivity to criticize the government [of Bangladesh] that actually saved their lives. An op-ed, titled "Religious freedom under attack - US can promote and protect liberty globally," by Chuck Grassley, senator for Iowa, appeared on his official website (https://www.grassley.senate.gov/) on Tuesday. The embassy said it expects that Senator Grassley would correct his narrative and his understanding about Bangladesh based on facts and realities on the ground. A few examples of religious freedom and harmony in Bangladesh were also shared. These are as follows: Bangladesh is a country where festivals of major religious communities (Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists) are public holidays, the president of Bangladesh hosts reception for members of each religious community on the day of these festivals and prime minister of Bangladesh promotes a national slogan "Religion unto individual, festivals unto all." People from all faiths celebrate the festivals together, which is truly reflective of the spirit of secularism and non-communalism, added the embassy. Verses from the holy books of all major faiths are recited at the beginning of all important official programs, it said. The embassy said that Senator Grassley is welcome to visit Bangladesh and see for himself the values of democracy, freedom, openness, inclusiveness, and religious harmony that exists in Bangladesh. https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2020/02/21/bangladesh-strongly-protests-us-senator-grassley-s-remarks
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