The United States strongly condemned countries who supplied Myanmar with military weapons and provided it with political support all the while ignoring the plight of the Rohingya.
Stephen Biegun, the US Deputy Secretary of State, criticised countries such as India, China and Russia without naming them. He stated “If any criticism should take place, I place criticism on those who continue provisions of military assistance and other political support without ever raising a concern about the fate of the refugees,”
“I think there is rightfully an expectation here in Bangladesh that other countries play a role and take a responsibility to share the burden of this crisis,” he added.
He called on the international community to increase their efforts to end the crisis.
“It is not simply the responsibility of the government of Bangladesh, but a global priority.”
“Every major country in the Indo-Pacific should be equally outspoken to ensure the Myanmar government takes the necessary steps to ease the crisis,” he said.
Bangladesh is being viewed as a centrepiece in the US’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS). The growing relations between Bangladesh and the United States will primarily focus on defence, trade, energy exploration and technical cooperation.
Over the recent months the US has increased contact with Bangladesh over its strategic plans for the region.
The US claims that its renewed focus in the region is not aimed at any particular country however it most of the activities were clearly directed against China.
Bangladesh will not be convinced of joining any such cooperation with the United States unless they equal or exceed Chinese investments in the country as well as provide Bangladesh armed forces with military equipment that can replace all Chinese origin military equipment.
Analysts believe this is a tall order and rather Bangladesh government is focusing on balancing its trade, defence and political ties with both China and the US.
Bangladesh has already cancelled the planned Chinese project of Sonadia deep sea port on the concerns of US, Japan and India. It expects the Japanese to contribute in equal or larger way to ensure the region benefits from enhanced maritime connections.
US defence equipment manufacturers are supplying attack helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, communications equipment, small arms, munitions and accessories to the Bangladesh armed forces.
The Americans hope to balance the two-way trade, which largely favours Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and the US will discuss implementing a free trade agreement.
The two countries have signed an air connectivity deal that will see airlines link Bangladesh and US cities to further enhance trade and investment opportunities in Bangladesh.
The United States and United Kingdom are scheduled to hold a conference to find out a long-term solution to the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh for its part has maintained it wants all Rohingya’s to be repatriated to their homeland of Myanmar. Western countries are entirely supportive of Bangladesh’s stance.