Friday, April 20, 2012

United States, Bangladesh explores avenues of security cooperation

SALEEM SAMAD

Top United States officials and Bangladesh explored avenues of cooperation to combat terrorism, piracy and strengthen coastal patrol dominated the first-ever crucial security dialogue on Thursday.

The US embassy in a media statement said the dialogue will enhance partnerships in peacekeeping, joint military exercises and exchanges, counterterrorism, and security cooperation.

Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro held closed door parleys with senior secretary to the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mustafa Kemal.

"We discussed how Bangladesh and the United States can work together on anti-terrorism and anti-piracy activities," top official Ahmed said after the meeting in the capital Dhaka.

The day-long dialogue was held after two months after reports that the U.S. Special Forces were present in five South Asian countries, including Bangladesh.

Immediately both Dhaka and Washington dismissed the notion of deployment of American Special Forces in the region, except for training purpose.

During the war against terror, Bangladesh was among the first few Muslim majority country to have lent it political and logistic support to the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Since then Bangladesh armed forces have collaborated in several joint military exercise with the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).

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 home from Canada. His email: saleemsamad@hotmail.com