Monday, April 09, 2012

Bangladesh to review defence ties with United States

SALEEM SAMAD



Bangladesh and the United States will review the existing bilateral defense co-operation next week in the capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni said on Sunday that she will take the opportunity to review the cooperation during the security dialogue scheduled on April 19. She also asserted that there is no plan to allow U.S. military base in Bangladesh, nor any other foreign country.

The foreign minister also said there was no proposal from the U.S. administration regarding the establishment of a base in Bangladesh or in it’s off shore isles.

In early March, the American ambassador Dan W. Mozena rejected news reports and reiterated that there was no permanent presence of U.S. Special Forces in Bangladesh, but on different occasion’s small teams routinely visits to conduct training.

Moni said Bangladesh has multifaceted co-operation with the U.S., including co-operation to fight against terrorism and militancy.

Responding to reporters query, whether the dialogue would lead to increase presence of the U.S. army or its base in the Bay of Bengal, the minister said that Bangladesh-U.S. security dialogue is a routine activity and the government held such meetings with many other countries too.

The minister added: “There is no presence of the U.S. military here, barring six or seven U.S. military men who are here for the training purpose.”

Last week U.S. Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman disclosed to reporters that the U.S. and Bangladesh will hold a dialogue on security challenges that the two countries face in this region and throughout the world.

Sherman had said U.S. Assistant Secretary for political and military affairs Andrew J. Shapiro will be in Dhaka for the dialogue.



Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow in journalism, is a Bangladesh based award winning investigative reporter. He is student of Islamic militancy, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. He was twice detained and tortured. Once in 1982 and second in 2002. Later he was expelled in 2004 from Bangladesh for whistle-blowing of the arrival of Jihadists from international terror network. He recently returned from Canada. His email: saleemsamad@hotmail.com