Arpita Hazarika

Dr Arpita Hazarika is a Gauhati University, Assam, India-based researcher. She is interested in refugee affairs, political economy, security and strategic affairs, and foreign policies of the Asia-Pacific region. With numerous foreign exposures, she has conducted research works on India-Bangladesh affairs.

Myanmar’s audacious military coup: Two Years On

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Today is 1st February 2023. The daring military takeover in Myanmar two years ago on February 1 will be remembered as the start of the most oppressive administration in recent memory on February 1, 2023. The situation in Myanmar has deteriorated drastically since February 2021, and a civil war between the military and the pro-democracy front is still raging. The years 2021 and 2022 were sad for the state of human rights as the military, often known as the Tatmadaw, used excessive violence to put an end to the call for democracy.

A resolution was vetoed in the UN Security Council because to Chinese and Russian support for the Tatmadaw, therefore it might be said that the situation has reached this point as a result of the lackluster response and insufficient strict steps of the international community.

Unprecedented agony and hardship for the people of Myanmar resulted from the military’s unrelenting violence and repression in 2022.

Aung San Suu Kyi was one of the prominent leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) who was detained by the Tatmadaw two years ago after they attempted a coup and made the absurd claim that elections had been rigged. Despite the fact that the NLD won the election with an overwhelming majority of seats and 83 percent of the vote overall, Tatmadaw, the “King Maker,” rejected the outcome out of concern for its continued control over Myanmar politics. The general populace of Myanmar protested against the coup and denounced it. The demonstration quickly evolved into the civil disobedience movement (CDM), in which professionals from all fields refused to report to work and sought the return of democracy.

The Tatmadaw’s choice to satiate the demand with bullets covered Myanmar’s streets in blood. According to the Thailand-based human rights organization Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the Tatmadaw has killed roughly 1,500 people and detained up to 9,000 others in the past year (Burma). Additionally, the Tatmadaw employed stringent monitoring techniques to stifle protestors’ voices. 120 journalists have been detained under the recently implemented harsh provision, Section 505A of the penal code, of whom 15 have been found guilty and 50 are still awaiting trial. Seven media outlets’ licenses as well as those for satellite television have been revoked.

After the People’s Defence Force (PDF) was established as the political branch of the National Unity Government in the midst of the bloody crackdown, the CDM changed into an armed resistance group (NUG). Even though NUG has the least power over the force, former NLD officials and pro-democracy fronts founded NUG and PDF as their armed wings. PDF and NUG gradually became one of the main political groups in Myanmar. To combat PDF, Tatmadaw has increased its level of aggression, whereas PDF prefers guerrilla warfare. According to UN estimates, at least 406,000 people have been displaced due to the increasing civil war.

Myanmar’s economy has also been destroyed by political unrest. Foreign companies’ withdrawal and currency depreciation have stifled the nation’s economic expansion.

Even while previous military coups encountered the least resistance and protest, this one resulted in a hitherto unheard-of movement against the dictatorship. The youth of the nation have demonstrated a strong belief in democracy and have remained in the forefront of the protest. The “Five Twos,” often referred to as Myanmar’s “Generation Z,” have taken the Tatmadaw and the rest of the world by surprise. Their political awareness is commendable, and they exhibit an unwavering spirit of resistance.

The Tatmadaw started to experience an image crisis after the youth rebellion was violently put down, and they now worry about maintaining power in the face of unabated popular hatred. Outside of Myanmar, the Tatmadaw has substantial backing from mighty nations like China and Russia.

On the other hand, the people of Myanmar rely on the international world to change things and bring back democracy. With the military’s withdrawal from power, it is clear that the situation will change for the better, necessitating the major engagement of the international community. Ironically, there has been no progress toward resolving this political problem by the international community, which is still bitterly split.

The lives of Myanmar’s residents and ethnic communities are wretched and perpetually unstable due to the lackluster responses of the international community, the geopolitical alignment of major countries, the lengthy history of military rule, and the Tatmadaw’s counter-insurgency operations. Torture, famine, and displacement are the three main pillars of modern-day Myanmar society.

The Tatmadaw has not been significantly impacted by major corporations leaving the country in protest of violations of human rights, such as Chevron and Total. The causes of humanity, genocide, and ethnic cleansing are not what drive the global world; rather, it is geopolitical interests. Although many people believed NUG would have international assistance to drive the Tatmadaw out, in reality, it has not succeeded in securing the backing of significant international players beyond mere lip service.

Situations like these, ranging from the Rohingya catastrophe to the Middle East conflict, have demonstrated how keenly global powers have focused on securing their own interests through strategic realignments and readjustments. Bangladesh is affected by the military takeover in Myanmar and the subsequent political developments in that country since the repatriation of 1.1 million Rohingyas from Bangladesh has been put on hold.

The Tatmadaw’s violence, repression, and civil war in Myanmar have left people living in perpetual fear and uncertainty. The international community must restore democracy to Myanmar’s youth and give displaced people like the Rohingyas new hope. Before it’s too late, the international community must respond in a concerted and strict manner. The Tatmadaw would gain strength as a result of the great nations failing to act, prolonging the agony and vulnerability of the people of Myanmar in 2023 and beyond.

We honor the lives lost over the previous year, especially those of women, children, humanitarian workers, human rights advocates, and nonviolent protestors, on this second anniversary of the coup. We vehemently condemn the country’s widespread human rights abuses and breaches committed by the military dictatorship, especially those committed against Rohingya and other racial and religious minorities. We express our deep concern about the verifiable reports of sexual and gender-based violence as well as torture. We are really concerned about the additional more than 400,000 people who have fled their homes since the coup. We further express our serious concern for the worsening humanitarian situation throughout the nation and call on the military regime to grant immediate, complete, and unrestricted access to vulnerable communities for humanitarian purposes, including COVID-19 immunization.

We express our severe concern with the enormous number of people who have been jailed without warrants as well as the sentencing of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

All members of the international community are urged to support initiatives aimed at promoting justice for the people of Myanmar, to hold those accountable for abuses and violations of human rights accountable, to stop providing the military and its representatives with arms, equipment, and technical assistance, and to continue assisting them in meeting immediate humanitarian needs.

We want to be clear that we support the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and the Special Envoy of ASEAN in his efforts to promote a peaceful resolution that serves the needs of the people of Myanmar. In order to ensure that the ASEAN Special Envoy has access to all stakeholders in Myanmar, including pro-democracy organizations, we urge the military administration to actively participate in ASEAN’s efforts to achieve complete and urgent implementation of the Five-Point Consensus. We also applaud the work of the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar and call on the military government to cooperate constructively with her.

Myanmar-Bangladesh ‘Border Guard Diplomacy’ strengthens ties

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Border Guard Bangladesh in a top-level meeting with their Myanmar counterpart Border Guard Police on Thursday called for maintaining peace and curbing trans-boundary crime.

In the meeting held in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, the Bangladeshi side also urged building mutual trust between the two forces.

The BGP is hosting the eighth edition of this top border conference, where several hours of discussion were held. A joint discussion will be held again today.   BGB director general Major General Shakil Ahmed is leading a 10-member Bangladesh delegation, while police force deputy chief Major General Aung Naing Thu is leading a 15-member Myanmar delegation. The Myanmar delegation includes senior officials from Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP), as well as representatives from the country’s ministries of defence, home affairs, foreign affairs, and labour and population affairs.

Representatives from Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office, home and foreign ministries, among others, are attending the discussion.

 Bangladesh wants a ‘peaceful’ and ‘crime-free’ border through the building of mutual trust. A press release shared by BGB headquarters said that issues related to recent border tension, including airspace violations, transnational counter-terrorism and criminal activities, drug smuggling, and human trafficking, among others, were on the priority list in the discussion.

The meeting also discussed joint patrolling and trust-building measures, it said. The Bangladesh delegation will return to Dhaka on November 28.

The meeting was held just 10 days after Squadron Leader Rizwan Rushdee, 30, an officer of the Bangladesh Air Force deputed to the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, and a Rohingya woman were killed and a member of the Rapid Action Battalion was badly injured during an anti-smuggling operation on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border near Naikhyangchari under the Bandarban district on November 14.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army was blamed for the killing.Earlier on October 30, border forces from Bangladesh and Myanmar pledged to improve bilateral relations after shells landed in Bangladesh amid clashes between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in Rakhine State.

On October 26, Myanmar’s special operations commander, Lieutenant General Phone Myat, visited Bangladesh’s army chief, General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, in Dhaka in an apparent attempt to improve relations and boost regional security.

Bangladesh filed diplomatic complaints after fighter jets and drone flights violated its airspace and mortar shells landed on its territory several times between August and September.

On September 16, a Rohingya teenager was killed and five people were injured when a mortar exploded at a Rohingya camp along the Naikhyangchari border.

A 10-member Bangladesh delegation led by BGB Director General Major General Shakil Ahmed are participating in the conference.

The topic of discussion at the conference includes de-escalation of the tense situation at the border caused by the recent internal conflict in Myanmar, violation of the air border, combating inter-state terrorism and preventing the activities of cross-border criminal gangs, prevention of illegal infiltration, prevention of drug and human trafficking, enhancing mutual cooperation to increase security at borders, exchange of various information related to borders, conducting joint patrolling, organising regular coordination meetings/flag meetings at the region and battalion levels, repatriation of detained/punished citizens of both countries, repatriation of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals to their original abodes and increasing mutual trust between BGB and BGP.

There had always been tension along the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Along the 271-kilometer sea and land boundary between the two nations, the two have a history of conflict. For instance, a border battle with the Myanmar military in 1978 necessitated the deployment of Bangladeshi troops along the border. When Myanmar sent out its naval ships to place a Korean drilling rig in Bangladesh’s exclusive economic zone close to St. Martin’s Island in 2008, Bangladesh too came dangerously close to having a maritime conflict. But the current issue really began in 2017 with the exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar.

The entire world is aware that in 2017, more than a million Rohingya refugees sought safety in Bangladesh. These refugees have been hosted by Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds. To maintain regional stability, the Rohingya refugee situation must be solved.

Bangladesh is under great pressure due to the current Rohingya crisis. In dealing with this crisis, the country has had to face, and continues to face, some new diplomatic realities. It suddenly discovered that some of its long-time friends were no longer with it. It has largely failed to achieve the expected results by applying traditional diplomatic methods to resolve the crisis. Therefore, there is a need for new thinking in the successful application of the various methods of modern diplomacy. Such as economic diplomacy, military diplomacy, or cultural diplomacy. Military diplomacy is a special strategy among the strategies used by various countries to protect the country’s interests and strengthen the state’s diplomatic position in the international arena, and both its influence and application in the current world are increasing.

What did Bangladesh do at that time? First and foremost, Bangladesh found a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the tension it currently experienced at the border with Myanmar. There has never been any notion that it can resolve the issue through violence or armed war. But diplomatic action alone is insufficient.

It must be supported by deterrents because deterrents are what give diplomatic actions bite. Some international experts have also contended that the military balances are likely skewed in favor of Myanmar, making it challenging for us to demonstrate an effective level of deterrence. However, Bangladesh made an effort to make sure that its diplomatic actions have a solid foundation.

In an effort to deliver protest notes to the Myanmar ambassador, the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry has so far used diplomatic channels. It hasn’t changed anything. In addition to civilian diplomacy, the Bangladesh government has taken a step forward in solving the border and Rohingya crisis through successful military diplomatic activities. IT must be of no surprise that in special circumstances, a country’s military diplomacy plays an instrumental role in managing foreign relations.

Relations between the two countries are now at a chilly level, with rounds of talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar surrounding the Rohingya crisis and Myanmar’s last-minute bungling of repatriation. In such a context, Bangladesh is looking for a possible solution to this crisis in military diplomacy.

Just like political diplomacy, military diplomacy has had positive discussions with Myanmar’s military leadership to resolve the Rohingya crisis, and in terms of defense cooperation, the relationship between the two countries will accelerate and strengthen mutual trust with this friendly country.

The influence of the military on state power in Myanmar is immense. Apart from that, the current Rohingya crisis falls within the ambit of the army. As a result, any move to deal with the crisis without involving the country’s army is bound to fail. Had there already been a close professional relationship between the Bangladesh and Myanmar armies, that relationship could have been put to good use in de-escalating the current crisis.

The Bangladesh army and border guard have seen success in military diplomacy before. In May 2014, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) member Naik Mizanur Rahman was killed in firing by Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP), causing intense tension on the border between the two countries.

Later, on the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the then BGB Director General  took the initiative to develop bilateral relations with the BGP. In June of that year, he led an eighjt-member Bangladesh delegation to a meeting of the BGB and Myanmar Police Force (MPF) chiefs in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

This was the BGB’s first meeting with the MPF. The meeting was considered as a milestone in the development of the border forces of the two countries. BGB and BGP worked together for a long time by accepting the land border agreement during the visit of the then BGB Director General.

This brings relief to Bangladesh’s 261-km border with Myanmar. Based on that meeting, Myanmar then expressed good neighbourly behavior with Bangladesh.

A Myanmar military commander visited Bangladesh and met its Army chief in Dhaka in an apparent attempt to improve relations and boost regional security on October 27.

According to an ISPR statement, the Myanmar military’s special operation commander, Lt Gen Phone Myat, explained the situation in Myanmar and how the junta was trying to maintain law and order while working with friendly countries. The statement said Bangladesh army chief discussed improving military relations, discussions between commanders and training exchanges.

Bangladesh COAS Gen Shafiuddin Ahmed called for Myanmar to work with Bangladesh to ensure regional security and the rapid repatriation of the Rohingya community. Myanmar’s delegation expressed interest in cooperating in professional growth and training exchanges, increasing friendship and solving problems bilaterally, the statement said.

General Shafiuddin stated in September that Bangladesh’s armed forces were prepared to act if Myanmar’s troops continued to fire across the border while pursuing the Arakan Army. He claimed that he complained strongly to his counterpart in Myanmar about the shelling, gunfire, and interference with jet and drone flights that resulted in the death of a Rohingya refugee and injuries to others in the Bandarban district.

Tatmadaw, the military of Myanmar, has been engaged in combat with the AA in northern Rakhine State, close to the Bangladeshi border. Since August, Bangladesh has complained to the international community about fighter jet and drone flights over its territory as well as mortar and machine gun rounds that cross the border.

Mohammad Ikbal, a 17-year-old Rohingya teenager, was killed by at least three mortar rounds launched into Bangladesh on September 16. Six other people were also hurt. The visit was welcomed and is a great development.

A battalion-level flag meeting between BRB and BGP decided to improve bilateral relations between the two countries, while the Myanmar side regretted the recent incidents of shelling along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.The meeting stressed the need to take necessary steps to boost communication, confidence, and trust between the border guarding forces of the two ‘friendly countries.’

Although it has a long history, military diplomacy is currently being addressed in several nations. The Rohingya issue and the most recent border dispute have a negative impact on the peace, security, and stability of the region. Regional peace and security will be threatened by the Rohingya repatriation’s delay. Military influence and diplomacy may play a decisive role in ending the Rohingya crisis.

Additionally, given that Myanmar is currently governed by a military government, the military’s position will be able to strengthen bilateral ties. The Bangladesh Foreign Ministry can therefore develop plans and measures to end the Rohingya issue with this goal in mind. The solution to the border conflict between Bangladesh and Myanmar lies in multilateral diplomacy. Strengthening military diplomacy is necessary in this regard.

Although Bangladesh and Myanmar share a border of 271 km, the Rohingya refugee crisis has been a long-standing bilateral issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh. But in order to assist in resolving this regional humanitarian crisis, both involved parties must participate in meaningful political dialogue. To establish a long-lasting political solution, Myanmar and Bangladesh could use military diplomacy as a tactic.

Basically, there should be regular exchanges of visits, training sessions, and joint exercises between the military forces of Bangladesh and Myanmar. These will lessen mistrust while boosting assurance and comprehension. Additionally, this may assist in resolving the region’s ongoing Rohingya refugee problem.

Bangladesh and Myanmar must forge military-diplomatic ties in order to successfully handle the Rohingya repatriation process. The Rohingya situation might be resolved with the use of military diplomacy and clout. The military role will be able to promote bilateral relations because Myanmar is governed by a military regime.

Military diplomatic communication is an effective strategy in strengthening relations with neighboring states. As Myanmar is Bangladesh’s only neighbouring country after India, its strategic importance is undeniable for Bangladesh. It has tried all kinds of bilateral and multilateral efforts to deal with the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, but so far, no promising results have been achieved.

The influence of the military on state power in Myanmar is immense. Apart from that, the current Rohingya crisis falls within the ambit of the army. As a result, any move to deal with the crisis without involving the country’s army is bound to fail. Had there already been a close professional relationship between the Bangladesh and Myanmar armies, that relationship could have been put to good use in de-escalating the current crisis.

The Recent Rohingya Resolution Adopted by UNO Offers a Glimmer of Hope For Rohingyas?

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Since the overwhelming exodus of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh in 2017, the Rohingya problem has gained attention. To continue housing more than 1.1 million refugees in Bangladesh, however, is proving to be an incredibly challenging endeavor given the recent emergence of other national and international challenges.

A ray of light is provided, nonetheless, by the recent Rohingya resolution passed by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. The resolution was jointly introduced on Wednesday (November 18) by members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the European Union (EU), who all agreed that it was urgent to confront Myanmar’s reprehensible treatment of the Rohingya people and other minorities.

This is good news since, up until now, the international community has not taken sufficient action to relieve the pressure on Bangladesh and to prevent Myanmar from abdicating its responsibility to its citizens.

The resolution is simply the first of several that must be taken to make sure that the Myanmar government creates a secure environment for the Rohingya refugees to return to; it does not, however, guarantee that the repatriation process for those refugees would be accelerated.

It is crucial that the resolution be turned into rapid action because the UN and humanitarian aid groups both have vital roles to play in this situation.

The perpetrators of the crimes done against the Rohingya population can finally be brought to justice with the assistance of the international community. Making sure that the refugees can finally and safely return home requires that we approach this catastrophe with the urgency that it demands.

While Bangladesh’s attempts to host the refugees demonstrate a level of generosity that the rest of the world has yet to demonstrate, it is time for the international community to take action to share the burden that isn’t ours to bear.

The Bangladeshi government has made numerous attempts to reach a deal with Myanmar and to solicit support from the international community for the safe and long-term repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.

The human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minority communities in Myanmar was also raised in the resolution adopted by the third committee of the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations said in a statement that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the European Union (EU) jointly presented the proposal to the Third Committee of the General Assembly. 109 countries co-sponsored the resolution, the highest since 2017.

In that proposal, the current political situation in Myanmar has worsened the human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minority communities there

In addition to finding the root cause of the Rohingya problem, the resolution calls on Myanmar to fully cooperate with all UN human rights bodies, including the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, to create an environment suitable for the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Rakhine State.

The statement added, “It commends Bangladesh’s continued cooperation with the ICC, IIMM and other accountability mechanisms to ensure justice and accountability for human rights violations against the Rohingya.”

This year’s resolution also called on UN member states to continue humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh under the principle of ‘Responsibility and Burden Sharing’.

When the proposal was accepted in the General Assembly, the charge of the affairs of Bangladesh. Manowar said, “The Rohingyas sheltering in camps in Bangladesh until their return deserve the solidarity of the international community. Adequate funding is needed to implement this humanitarian response process.”

Highlighting the problem of the Rohingya’s long standing in Bangladesh, Manowar Hossain said, “We sheltered the Rohingya fleeing from Myanmar due to humanitarian considerations, the displaced people always have the desire to return to Myanmar. Bangladesh is bilateral and multilateral in creating an environment suitable for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya to Myanmar. Front has undertaken multifaceted diplomatic efforts to create an environment conducive to safe and voluntary return to Myanmar.”

In addition, the important role of regional countries and organizations such as ASEAN in the development of Myanmar’s political and human rights situation has been highlighted. Special emphasis is placed on the speedy implementation of the five-point recommendations adopted unanimously by ASEAN.The UN General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on the ‘Human Rights Situation of Rohingya Muslims and Other Minorities in Myanmar’. It also recognized Bangladesh’s humanitarian efforts for the Rohingya. This is definitely good news.

The proposal seeks to find the root cause of the Rohingya problem as well as create an environment conducive to the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Myanmar’s Rakhine State. In this regard, Myanmar has been called upon to fully cooperate with all human rights organizations of the United Nations, including the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General in Myanmar.

It is hoped that the international community will be more alert and aware of the Rohingya issue at the United Nations. It can be said that the task of repatriating Rohingyas will be relatively easy if such a proposal is unanimously accepted by the Security Council in the future. The main question is whether the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh will be able to return to their homeland. As long as this goal is not achieved, there will be no relief for Bangladesh. Despite being overpopulated and plagued by socio-economic problems, Bangladesh has given shelter to the displaced Rohingya fleeing from Myanmar on humanitarian grounds. But this humanitarian step has become a burden for Bangladesh now. Rohingyas coming to this country has created a multidimensional crisis. The environment of Cox’s Bazar area has become polluted. Population density has increased.

Rohingyas are involved in various criminal activities including drug smuggling and are worsening the law and order situation in the country. This situation is not only a threat to Bangladesh’s internal security but also to regional security. In this reality, an acceptable solution to the Rohingya crisis has become very important. And this solution can be done only through repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland.

The international community should apply effective pressure on Myanmar, so that the country agrees to take back its citizens. It is expected that the international community will play a stronger role in the Rohingya issue after the unanimously adopted resolution at the United Nations.

World can’t remain silent on Myanmar’s ‘Nuclear Ambition’

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7 mins read

If Myanmar acquires nuclear capability, it would be disaster for South and Southeast Asia. All regional countries would be facing security threat from Myanmar directly. Nuclear Myanmar is going to direct threat to not only for all regional countries. South and Southeast Asia is going to be vulnerable permanently if Myanmar continues to pursue its long-cherished nuclear ambitions. Definitely, the military junta would use the weapons against various ethnic rivals, and insurgents. Not only so that, but the whole Southeast Asian region would also be volatile, and unstable for the stupidity of the Myanmar junta.

Myanmar’s aggressive behavior would be growing day by day. Recent border tensions between Myanmar-Bangladesh are the best example to understand and realize that. Myanmar’s military is so brutal, and cruel that it has been carrying out airstrikes on its people. Thus, the nuclear weapons in the hand of the Myanmar military are more dangerous than North Korea even.

For example, the foreign ministry summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to Bangladesh, Aung Kyaw Moe, on September 18, 2022, for the fourth time in protest of the troubled neighbor’s continuous violations of Bangladesh’s air and land space in recent weeks. Myanmar has been embroiled in a civil conflict since mid-August, and throughout this time, shells have crossed the Bangladesh border. On September 16, a mortar bomb launched from Myanmar exploded in a Rohingya camp, killing one 18-year-old and injuring five others. Additionally, on September 3, military aircraft from Myanmar conducted coordinated shooting attacks from fighter jets and helicopters while in Bangladeshi airspace, putting the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on notice.

One of Bangladesh’s closest neighbors is Myanmar. Unfortunately, the nation does not behave in a very neighborly manner. In a raid on the Rakhine state on August 25, 2017, the Myanmar army massacred the Rohingya community and burned their homes on fire. More than 700,000 Rohingyas fled this cruelty and sought refuge in Bangladesh. Thousands of Rohingyas have previously traveled from Myanmar to Bangladesh at various points in time.1.25 million Rohingyas are currently listed as living in Bangladesh’s numerous refugee camps. Releasing them has been difficult for Myanmar. Bangladesh is obligated to pay. Bangladesh has been the victim of numerous lies from the nation.

Myanmar has consistently infringed on Bangladesh’s sovereignty. This is a big surprise. At the border, no state has the authority to infringe on another state’s sovereignty. This is obviously against international law, standards, and traditions. The government of Myanmar must take into account the cordial ties between the two nations. It must keep in mind that Bangladesh is a sovereign nation and that firing shells into the border by itself, whether on purpose or accidentally, is unacceptable. Myanmar has no right to infringe on the territory of another state. In the international community, this mindset is unacceptable.
An agreement signed by Myanmar’s military regime and Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation to jointly assess building a small reactor in the Southeast Asian country underscores the junta’s long-term pursuit of nuclear weapons, analysts said.

Myo Thein Kyaw, the regime’s minister of science and technology; Thuang Han, minister of electric power; and Alexey Likhachev, chief executive officer at Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, signed the “roadmap for cooperation upon its own citizens” while they attended the Eastern Economic Forum on Sept. 5-8 in Vladivostok. Junta leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing oversaw the signing of the agreement.
The deal would further Russian-Myanmar cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, and assess the feasibility of a small-scale nuclear reactor project in Myanmar, Rosatom said in a statement issued Sept. 6.
The same day, the junta announced that it would use nuclear energy for electricity generation, scientific research, medicine production, and industry.

There is no doubt Myanmar has a nuclear program. It sent scientists, technicians, and army officers to Russia for training in recent years. And Moscow has agreed to supply Myanmar, formerly Burma, with a small nuclear reactor for civilian use. The question is, why is the world silent in this regard? Why did ASEAN not raise the concern this time?

Myanmar (Burma) has been carrying out rudimentary steps toward developing nuclear weapons, a documentary released in June by an opposition group alleges. The documentary by the Democratic Voice of Burma featured information provided by Sai Thein Win, a former officer in the Myanmar army. Win claimed to have been deputy manager of special machine tool factories involved in Myanmar’s secret nuclear weapons efforts and ballistic missile development program.

The opposition group also issued a corresponding report on June 3 featuring an analysis of Win’s information by former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector Robert Kelley. Kelley claimed in the report that, taken collectively, the technology featured in Win’s information “is only for nuclear weapons and not civilian use or nuclear power.”

Burma’s nuclear ambitions, spotlighted by last month’s announcement that Russia has agreed to help the regime build a nuclear research facility, date back at least seven years. In December 1995, the junta signed the Bangkok Treaty, banning the development, manufacture, possession, control, stationing, transport, testing, or use of nuclear weapons under the terms of the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Five years later, after a visit to Moscow by Burma’s minister for science and technology, U Thaung, the junta’s nuclear plans became clearer” The junta’s recent confirmation that it will build a small-scale nuclear power plant in the next few years caps Myanmar’s long pursuit of nuclear technology dating back to early 2000.

The Southeast Asian country’s two-decade-long journey to nuclear capability was made possible by Russia after a series of engagements that accelerated under the current junta and its military predecessor.
Though the current regime insists nuclear energy would be used for peaceful purposes in Myanmar, which has been hit by chronic electricity shortages, many believe this is the first step in a plan to utilize nuclear energy for military purposes including the production of nuclear weapons.

In 2009, it was reported that Myanmar was suspected of having initiated a nuclear weapons program. If such a program does exist, Burma’s technical and financial limitations may make it difficult for the program to succeed. The United States expressed concern in 2011 about potential violations of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), though by 2012 these concerns had been “partially allayed.” Burma has faced persistent accusations of using chemical weapons.

In 2007, Russia and Burma did a controversial nuclear research center deal. According to them, “The centre will comprise a 10MW light-water reactor working on 20%-enriched uranium-235, an activation analysis laboratory, a medical isotope production laboratory, silicon doping system, nuclear waste treatment, and burial facilities”.

According to an August 2009 report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Burma had been working to develop a nuclear weapon by 2014. The reported effort, purportedly being undertaken with assistance from North Korea, involves the construction of a nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facilities in caves tunneled into a mountain at Naung Laing, a village in the Mandalay division. The information cited in the newspaper story reportedly originated from two high-ranking defectors who had settled in Australia.

On June 3, 2010, a five-year investigation by an anti-government Myanmar broadcaster, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), found evidence that allegedly shows the country’s military regime began a programme to develop nuclear weapons. The DVB said evidence of Myanmar’s nuclear programme came from top-secret documents smuggled out of the country over several years, including hundreds of files and other evidence provided by Sai Thein Win, a former major in the military of Myanmar. A UN report said there was evidence that North Korea had been exporting nuclear technology to Burma, Iran, and Syria. Now, Russia supports Myanmar’s nuclear program openly.

Based on Win’s evidence, Robert Kelley, a former weapons inspector, said he believed Burma “has the intent to go nuclear and it is… expending huge resources along the way.” But as of 2010, experts said that Burma was a long way from succeeding, given the poor quality of its current materials. Despite Kelley’s analysis, some experts are uncertain that a nuclear weapons programme exists; for example, the Institute for Science and International Security notes ambiguity as to whether certain equipment is used for uranium production, or for innocently producing “rare earth metals or metals such as titanium or vanadium.” The U.S. expressed concern in 2011 about possible NPT violations, but by 2012 stated that its concerns had been “partially allayed.”

Myanmar signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 26, 2018, but has not ratified it.

On 15 December 1995, ASEAN Member States signed the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) as a commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The Treaty is also known as the Bangkok Treaty. Through this treaty, ASEAN reaffirms the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and in contributing towards international peace and security. It also marks the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Southeast Asia – one among five NWFZs in the world. The other four NWFZs are in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Pacific, Africa, and Central Asia.

The Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty welcomes the signing and early ratification of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS), which will contribute to the promotion of the realisation of a Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Efforts are underway toward the accession of the NWS to the Protocol.

Myanmar’s attitude is contradictory to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty. Whatever may be the truth, the fact remains that nuclear Myanmar is not in India, China, or all neighbouring countries’ interst. They cannot afford to have another nuclear power along its border. Other regional countries would definitely feel insecure. The direct nuclear threat from Myanmar would destabilize the whole region in the long run. If nuclear deterrence works, then the arms race is a must in the region. Myanmar’s this dangerous ambition would take a relaxation from all stakeholders in the region. West should join with all regional countries and ASEAN to pressure Myanmar to give up its nuclear (weapons) ambitions. They must take action like in the Iran case, Otherwise, the world is going to see another nuclear threat in the Southeast region. Instead of developing nuclear weapons, the world must compel Myanmar to focus on bringing back democracy and resolving problems like HIV AIDS, human trafficking, rape, drug abuse, child soldiers, forced labour, ethnic crisis, refugee issues, and corruption. All bordering and neighbouring countries of Myanmar must be cautious in this regard.

The only peaceful course of action is for Myanmar to promptly implement appropriate measures to cease all forms of unwelcome behavior in the border area in order to preserve regular ties between the two nations. All regional countries must raise the issue in international community to stop Myanmar to commit such heinous activities.

Myanmar: Military’s ‘cherished nuclear ambition’ threatens regional stability

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Southeast Asia is going to be vulnerable permanently if Myanmar continues to pursue its long-cherished nuclear ambitions.  Definitely, the military junta would use the weapons against various ethnic rivals, and insurgents. Not only so that, but the whole Southeast Asian region would also be volatile, and unstable for the stupidity of the Myanmar junta. Myanmar’s aggressive behaviour would be growing day by day. Recent border tensions between Myanmar-Bangladesh are the best example to understand and realize that. Myanmar’s military is so brutal, and cruel that it has been carrying out airstrikes upon its own people. Thus, the nuclear weapons in the hand of the Myanmar military are more dangerous than North Korea even.

An agreement signed by Myanmar’s military regime and Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation to jointly assess building a small reactor in the Southeast Asian country underscores the junta’s long-term pursuit of nuclear weapons, analysts said.

Myo Thein Kyaw, the regime’s minister of science and technology; Thuang Han, minister of electric power; and Alexey Likhachev, chief executive officer at Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, signed the “roadmap for cooperation upon its own citizens” while they attended the Eastern Economic Forum on Sept. 5-8 in Vladivostok. Junta leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing oversaw the signing of the agreement.

The deal would further Russian-Myanmar cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, and assess the feasibility of a small-scale nuclear reactor project in Myanmar, Rosatom said in a statement issued Sept. 6.

The same day, the junta announced that it would use nuclear energy for electricity generation, scientific research, medicine production and industry.  

There is no doubt Myanmar has a nuclear program. It sent scientists, technicians and army officers to Russia for training in recent years. And Moscow has agreed to supply Myanmar, formerly Burma, with a small nuclear reactor for civilian use. The question is, why the world is silent in this regard? Why does not ASEAN raise the concern this time?

Myanmar (Burma) has been carrying out rudimentary steps toward developing nuclear weapons, a documentary released in June by an opposition group alleges. The documentary by the Democratic Voice of Burma featured information provided by Sai Thein Win, a former officer in the Myanmar army. Win claimed to have been deputy manager of special machine tool factories involved in Myanmar’s secret nuclear weapons efforts and ballistic missile development program.

The opposition group also issued a corresponding report on June 3 featuring an analysis of Win’s information by former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector Robert Kelley. Kelley claimed in the report that, taken collectively, the technology featured in Win’s information “is only for nuclear weapons and not civilian use or nuclear power.”

Burma’s nuclear ambitions, spotlighted by last month’s announcement that Russia has agreed to help the regime build a nuclear research facility, date back at least seven years. In December 1995, the junta signed the Bangkok Treaty, banning the development, manufacture, possession, control, stationing, transport, testing or use of nuclear weapons under the terms of the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Five years later, after a visit to Moscow by Burma’s minister for science and technology, U Thaung, the junta’s nuclear plans became clearer…”The junta’s recent confirmation that it will build a small-scale nuclear power plant in the next few years caps Myanmar’s long pursuit of nuclear technology dating back to early 2000.

The Southeast Asian country’s two-decade-long journey to nuclear capability was made possible by Russia after a series of engagements that accelerated under the current junta and its military predecessor.

Though the current regime insists nuclear energy would be used for peaceful purposes in Myanmar, which has been hit by chronic electricity shortages, many believe this is the first step in a plan to utilize nuclear energy for military purposes including the production of nuclear weapons.

In 2009, it was reported that Myanmar was suspected to have initiated a nuclear weapons program. If such a program does exist, Burma’s technical and financial limitations may make it difficult for the program to succeed. The United States expressed concern in 2011 about potential violations of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), though by 2012 these concerns had been “partially allayed.” Burma has faced persistent accusations of using chemical weapons.

In 2007, Russia and Burma did a controversial nuclear research centre deal. According to them, “The centre will comprise a 10MW light-water reactor working on 20%-enriched uranium-235, an activation analysis laboratory, a medical isotope production laboratory, silicon doping system, nuclear waste treatment and burial facilities”.

According to an August 2009 report published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Burma had been working to develop a nuclear weapon by 2014. The reported effort, purportedly being undertaken with assistance from North Korea, involves the construction of a nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facilities in caves tunnelled into a mountain at Naung Laing, a village in the Mandalay division. The information cited in the newspaper story reportedly originated from two high-ranking defectors who had settled in Australia.

On June 3, 2010, a five-year investigation by an anti-government Myanmar broadcaster, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), found evidence that allegedly shows the country’s military regime began a programme to develop nuclear weapons. The DVB said evidence of Myanmar’s nuclear programme came from top-secret documents smuggled out of the country over several years, including hundreds of files and other evidence provided by Sai Thein Win, a former major in the military of Myanmar. A UN report said there was evidence that North Korea had been exporting nuclear technology to Burma, Iran and Syria. Now, Russia supports Myanmar’s nuclear program openly.

Based on Win’s evidence, Robert Kelley, a former weapons inspector, said he believed Burma “has the intent to go nuclear and it is… expending huge resources along the way.” But as of 2010, experts said that Burma was a long way from succeeding, given the poor quality of its current materials. Despite Kelley’s analysis, some experts are uncertain that a nuclear weapons programme exists; for example, the Institute for Science and International Security notes ambiguity as to whether certain equipment is used for uranium production, or for innocently producing “rare earth metals or metals such as titanium or vanadium.” The U.S. expressed concern in 2011 about possible NPT violations, but by 2012 stated that its concerns had been “partially allayed.”

Myanmar signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on September 26, 2018, but has not ratified it.

On 15 December 1995, ASEAN Member States signed the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) as a commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The Treaty is also known as the Bangkok Treaty. Through this treaty, ASEAN reaffirms the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and in contributing towards international peace and security. It also marks the establishment of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Southeast Asia – one among five NWFZs in the world. The other four NWFZs are in Latin America and the Caribbean, South Pacific, Africa, and Central Asia.

The Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty welcomes the signing and early ratification of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS), which will contribute to the promotion of the realisation of a Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Efforts are underway towards the accession of the NWS to the Protocol.

Myanmar’s attitude is contradictory to the Protocol to the SEANWFZ Treaty. Whatever may be the truth, the fact remains that nuclear Myanmar is not in India or China, but all neighbouring countries’ interests. They cannot afford to have another nuclear power along its border. Other regional countries would definitely feel insecure. The direct nuclear threat from Myanmar would destabilize the whole region in the long run. If nuclear deterrence works, then the arms race is a must in the region. Myanmar’s this dangerous ambition would take a relaxation from all stakeholders in the region.   West should join with all regional countries and ASEAN to pressure Myanmar to give up its nuclear (weapons) ambitions. They must take action like in the Iran case, Otherwise, the world is going to see another nuclear threat in the Southeast region. Instead of developing nuclear weapons, the world must compel Myanmar to focus on bringing back democracy and resolving problems like HIV AIDS, human trafficking, rape, drug abuse, child soldiers, forced labour, ethnic crisis, refugee issues and corruption.

Myanmar Military Junta: Sinking Within

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The piercing sound of air raids, mortar shelling, and gunfire on our southern border not only violates our territorial integrity and sovereignty but also presents a gloomy image of an uncertain future for the people of Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the entire region.

The sound of gunshots also serves as a metaphor for the Myanmar Junta’s struggles and failures in establishing control over its own nation. The present violence in Myanmar has all the characteristics of a civil war.

Burma (Myanmar) is already engulfed in a civil war. Organized opposition groups, credible challenges to state authority, ground presence, alternative governance infrastructure (usually), and external recognition are often necessary for civil conflicts. All those components exist in Burma. The opposition is not organized along ethnic lines. They have had success in battling the security forces and Burmese army.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy was democratically elected to power in Myanmar, but that government was overthrown last year, and the military took its place. The recent trend of increased fighting and violence in Myanmar is evidence of growing unrest against the military establishment (NDL).

Following the military takeover, a sizable pro-democracy movement emerged, which later evolved into armed resistance in response to the Junta’s violent assault on dissent, which claimed the lives of at least 2,300 civilians throughout Myanmar.

People’s Defence Force (PDF), an anti-coup resistance force, has been in charge of a widespread armed resistance campaign since the coup. The National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow government in exile run by Suu Kyi’s NLD’s expelled MPs, served as the foundation for PDF.

Frequently armed only with handmade weapons and a thorough understanding of the terrain, PDF has managed to astound the military with its capabilities.

To put an end to the resistance movement, the Junta in reaction conducted indiscriminate airstrikes, shelling, and arson attacks against cities and villages.

The Junta’s support among the populace has been eroded by this indiscriminate violence against the civilian population, which has brought the nation dangerously close to civil war as more civilians take up guns to oppose the military regime.

The failure of the Junta military to take control of the country is due to the lack of popular support brought on by the indiscriminate violence against the country’s population, the Myanmar military’s lack of professionalism, and corruption at every level of its military leadership and law enforcement agencies.
Ethnic Armed Forces Organizations (EAOs), also known as powerful ethnic armed organizations, have formed coalitions to combat the Junta on the battlefield as a result of the Junta’s failings. There are some of them that have friendly ties to the military establishment.

In light of recent developments, the heads of Myanmar’s seven most potent ethnic armed groups, including the Arakan Army, recently met in the remote WA area bordering China to strengthen their alliance.

Some of these EAOs have actively given military training and other types of support to anti-coup resistance, even if they are not actively engaged in the campaign to topple the Junta regime in Myanmar, which is the PDF’s main goal.

The crisis in Myanmar has already served as a flashpoint for major world powers, just like every other contemporary conflict throughout the globe.

A semi-proxy battle has already developed in this conflict. China firmly supports the Burmese government. While western nations have denounced Burmese activities, supported the opposition diplomatically and helped them make their voices heard.

Myanmar has been attempting to take advantage of the west’s diversion in attention away from this region due to the conflict in Ukraine to annihilate its rivals on the battlefield.

The Junta has been looking for supporters domestically and abroad as part of its so-called “counter-terrorism” drive to combat the diplomatic isolation the west imposed on the country last year.

Last June, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution urging nations to stop arming Myanmar.

However, the call was ignored. China, Russia, and Serbia are now Burma’s top three weaponry suppliers.
Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, criticized Russia and China for continuing to supply the Junta with weapons despite “proof of the horrific crimes being committed with impunity” since launching a coup last year in his report released in February. However, Russia is still selling the Junta military equipment, and as part of a 2018 contract, it will soon send brand-new Sukhoi SU-30SM jet fighters.

Due to an uptick in violence, conditions in Myanmar have recently gotten worse for a great number of innocent people.

This brutal crackdown has unleashed a major refugee crisis forcing tens of thousands of people from almost every region to flee the country.

Since the coup, at least 1.3 million people have been forcibly evacuated in an effort to flee military attacks, he claimed, adding that the effects of this refugee flow would be felt throughout the entire Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

The largest increase in the number of refugees arrived in the Indian state of Mizoram. Since the military overthrew the government in 2021, about 30,000 people from Myanmar have sought refuge in Mizoram, according to Hindustan Times.

Bangladesh is also seeing a small influx of refugees despite intensive monitoring and surveillance in border regions. A minimum of 10-15 Rohingyas have sought refuge in the Kutupalong and Balukhali shelter camps in Cox’s Bazar since September 10 as a result of the resumption of hostilities between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army in Rakhine.

The “spectre of violence” in Myanmar has started to compellASEAN members to take action against Myanmar. This is a very significant development.

Bangladesh and Thailand have both been patient and cautious in their response (to airspace violation and artillery shelling), but if conflict persists and such violations become routine, Burmese provocations will in the future be responded to and that might create region-wide instability and chaos.

The Indo-Pacific region’s stability is threatened by the recent flare-up of fighting in Myanmar, which has alarmed neighbouring nations. The continuous insecurity and instability in Rakhine state have produced a spillover impact across the region.

Everyone worries that terrorist groups like IS and al-Qaeda may exploit the deteriorating situation in Rakhine state if the situation there is not adequately addressed. The world must emphasize the necessity of taking action on a global scale to address the security risk brought on by the unrest in Myanmar.
Bangladesh and Myanmar share a turbulent, almost 300-kilometer border, which has the potential to have negative repercussions on both countries.

For more than a month, tensions have been rising between Dhaka and Naypyidaw. On the Bangladesh side of the border, numerous instances of Myanmar’s brutal army airspace violations, deadly shelling, and gunfire have been documented.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry summoned Myanmar’s Ambassador in Dhaka, Aung Kyaw Moe, to express opposition to the provocation following a recent incidence of mortar fire in Bangladesh that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old Rohingya boy in the no-land man’s near Bandarban.

Bangladesh must support the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Gambia, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and other international organizations leading the efforts to hold the Myanmar military accountable for their actions against the Rohingya people in order to ensure the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya refugees. Bangladesh needs to take the right actions to raise the Rohingya people’s voices and their grievances to the world community. Regional countries’ targets should be strict against the brutal Myanmar military. The world including regional countries must realize that the Rohingya issue is likely to remain stuck until the Myanmar junta is kicked out of power – and this could take a long time.

Strategic Importance of Hasina’s Sojourn to India: A Post Script

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who completed her India visit recently, attended a closed-door meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday (September 06). After the meeting, the two Prime Ministers attended a press conference. In this conference, Sheikh Hasina termed the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India as a role model of ‘neighbourhood diplomacy’.

She also said that she agreed with the Prime Minister of India to work together on various bilateral issues. Sheikh Hasina said, we have agreed to carry out cooperative efforts to maintain our economic growth and regional peace, security and stability.

If Bangladesh and India can work together as partners, it will bring peace and prosperity not only for the two countries but also for the region. On the other hand, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, we have emphasized on cooperation against terrorism and radicalism. He said, those who want to hurt our mutual trust.

Security cooperation, investment, enhanced trade relations, Rohingya issue, water resource management, border management, cooperation in power and energy sector, common river water sharing, prevention of drug smuggling and human trafficking were discussed in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers.

Despite the delayed progress on the line of credit extension in 2018, different types of equipment are being considered at various stages. According to media reports, Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka recently shared a wish list of military platforms and systems that its armed forces would like to purchase from India, marking some progress on the delayed implementation of the $500 million defence Line of Credit (LoC) extended by India to Bangladesh. This contains a wide variety of tools, such as an oil tanker for the Bangladesh Navy, a logistics ship, and a floating dock.

India considers the signing of the first contract between Bangladesh and India under the $500 Line of Credit (LoC) to be an “important first step” in bolstering bilateral defence cooperation.

“This week, I believe the first contract under the defence line of credit was signed. You have undoubtedly been paying close attention to this. Despite being small, it was an essential first step “said Vinay Kwatra, the foreign secretary of India, in New Delhi

According to its “Forces Goal 2030,” Bangladesh is modernizing its military by introducing new weaponry and enhancing infrastructure. A large portion of these requirements can be met by India, which will also boost defence cooperation between the two countries.

China has sold Bangladesh weapons, including two traditional diesel-electric submarines. China has become one of the world’s leading suppliers of weapons, particularly to nations in India’s immediate neighbourhood.

India has recently greatly increased its military support for capacity building and capabilities development for nations in the Indian Ocean Region in an effort to counter this.

The “intensification” of bilateral defence ties was welcomed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

According to the joint statement released following the bilateral talks between the two leaders, they also agreed on the early completion of projects under the Line of Credit for Defense, which would be advantageous for both nations.

India looks forward to strengthening bilateral defence ties and welcomed the completion of “first purchase plans” for vehicles for the Bangladesh Armed Forces.

Both parties stressed the importance of cooperating closely to implement the $500 million Line of Credit offered by India for defence items at the 4th Bangladesh-India annual defence dialogue held in New Delhi in August. At the meeting, representatives from Bangladesh and India reaffirmed their commitment to improving interactions between their armed forces and discussed the development of bilateral defence cooperation programs.

For in-depth conversations, various facets of defence industrial and capability-building cooperation came up. Both nations looked at the possibility of working together on joint production, co-development, and commerce in the defence sector.

The Indian side reaffirmed its demand for the 2019 MoU’s provision of a coastal radar system for increased marine security to be implemented as soon as possible.

After the meeting between the two leaders, 7 MoUs were also signed between the two countries. These are – MoU on withdrawal of 153 cusecs of water from Kushiyara River under Surma-Kushiyara Project, MoU between BSIR of Bangladesh with Council of Science and Educational Research of India on Scientific Cooperation, MoU between Supreme Court of Bangladesh with National Judicial Academy at Bhopal, Indian Railway Training Institutes, an MoU between the Railway Ministries of the two countries for the training of Bangladesh Railway staff, an MoU between the Indian and Bangladesh Railway Ministries for information technology cooperation in Bangladesh Railways, an MoU between Bangladesh Television with India’s state broadcaster ‘Prasar Bharti’ and an MoU between BTCL and NSIL on space technology cooperation.

The relationship between Bangladesh and India is long-standing. We hope that this relationship will become closer and closer in the future. But it is also true, even though the two countries have maintained good relations, some issues have not been resolved yet. These include the Teesta water sharing agreement, border management and trade deficit. Regarding the Teesta water distribution agreement, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed optimism and said that the agreement will be signed very soon.

It may be mentioned that all the formalities of signing this agreement have been completed but it was not implemented at the last moment. Indian authorities should consider to resolve the matter expeditiously. Indian government should also be sincere in stopping border killings. Reducing the trade deficit between the two countries is also of particular importance. We hope that the relations between the two countries will be strengthened through the settlement of the outstanding issues in the coming days.

Trade and cooperation between these two close neighbours have grown as a result of their special friendly relationship, promising advantages for both nations. To advance their relationship even further, Bangladesh and India signed seven agreements on Tuesday. These agreements covered important topics like water withdrawal from a shared river, railroad development assistance, judicial officer training in Bangladesh, science and technology cooperation, and broadcasting cooperation. These agreements portend a strengthening of the bonds that unite the two nations.

Compared to 2010, India’s loan assistance to Bangladesh has now increased tenfold. 25 percent of India’s total foreign aid is allocated to Bangladesh. In the meantime, the country has handed over a billion dollars to Bangladesh, that too at less than one percent interest, a generosity that no other friendly country has shown to Bangladesh.

India’s provision of tariff-free transit facilities to Bangladesh for exports to Nepal and Bhutan is considered a major step in bilateral cooperation. Also, since India can use the Chittagong seaport, not only the Seven Sisters of India will benefit from it, but Dhaka will also benefit from it. Because, due to this, the South Block of Delhi expects that the export of Bangladesh to Northeast India will increase significantly.

The visit also made it clear where India wants to take its relationship with Bangladesh in the days ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or CEPA for short, with Bangladesh. As a result, the products of both countries will get duty-free access.

It is estimated that the volume of trade between the two countries will increase from the current 1.4 billion dollars to 15 billion dollars in the next ten years. India was also requested to implement SEPA by Japan and China. But India chose Bangladesh as its fourth largest trading partner before Japan or China. Besides, in the coming days, the area of ​​cooperation between the two countries is going to expand in space as well.

Hasina’s Visit to Delhi: A Prelude

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3 mins read

After almost three years, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to Delhi again on a state visit on September 5. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit is very significant in India-Bangladesh bilateral relations. The Modi government also wants to give special importance to this visit. Because of the changing geo-political situation, New Delhi considers Dhaka as its most ‘trusted friend’. On September 6, the two Prime Ministers will have a private meeting and a delegation-level meeting. Sheikh Hasina will address major business meetings like the Indian Chamber of Commerce the next day i.e. September 7. She will present the picture of how both parties can benefit if Indian investors invest in Bangladesh. The next day she will return to Dhaka via Ajmer Sharif.

Why is this visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina so important? The temporary power shortage in Bangladesh is going to end as Bangladesh’s largest thermal power project ‘Maitri’ is going to be inaugurated during her visit to India. Despite considerable ‘pressure’ from the Bangladesh government, the Teesta water distribution agreement could not be implemented mainly due to the objection of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This time there will be significant progress if not all of it. The demand for wheat in Bangladesh is increasing.

In this situation, the Modi government has given permission to export wheat through the Hili border in Dinajpur. It should be remembered that this will be her last visit to India before the upcoming elections in Bangladesh. As a result, India will not return Sheikh Hasina empty-handed. During Sheikh Hasina’s visit this time, there is a bright possibility of finalizing the trade agreement called ‘CEPA’ (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) between the two countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently approved the draft of this agreement in the cabinet meeting. Now just waiting for India to agree on this. It is being touted as a ‘landmark’ or landmark agreement for free and duty-free trade in hundreds of goods between India and Bangladesh.

If this is a joint testing service, one-stop service will be launched. It will increase investment. As a result, exports will increase by 3-5 billion dollars beyond the current (about 1.28 billion dollars) export earnings. After the signing of the CEPA agreement, if the trade barriers are removed, the import picture of Bangladesh will also change. As most of India’s products and services are compatible with Bangladesh’s economy and culture, and due to low transportation costs and time savings, Bangladeshi importers will turn to India instead of Far Eastern countries for the same products. Then the number of imports from India will increase. In that case, the current import of 7 billion dollars will increase by 4-7 billion US dollars.
Before Sheikh Hasina’s visit, a ministerial meeting of the Joint River Commission (JRC) was held in Delhi on August 25. On August 23, JRC secretary-level meeting was held. It discussed the water sharing agreement of the Manu, Dharla, Khoai, Muhuri, Gomti and Dudhkumar rivers. In this, the issue of finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the withdrawal of Kushiara river water becomes important. Bangladesh wants to use Kushiara water to facilitate the cultivation of 5 thousand acres of land in Sylhet.

This would require India’s permission to withdraw water from the same river. Besides, the Ganga water-sharing agreement will expire in 2026. There is supposed to be a joint survey for maximum utilization of this common river water. After more than a century, the meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) of the two countries is sitting in Delhi. The matters agreed by the JRC in terms of water sharing or water management of several important common rivers of the two countries will be fulfilled in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers. This time, the question is – Will the Chief Minister of West Bengal, who has held back the Tista Agreement, come and meet Sheikh Hasina in the capital during her visit to Delhi? The central government of India has invited as per rules. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave a message to the country’s Hindu community on Janmashtami before her visit to India. She said, ‘Don’t think of yourself as a minority. All people have equal rights in Bangladesh regardless of caste and religion.

The Bangladesh government has requested $4.5billion in assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Economists say that the increase in the price of oil and gas, machinery and raw materials in the international market has created huge pressure on the country’s reserves. Bangladesh approached the IMF donors to handle that pressure. Last year, Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves were 45.5 billion, but by July 20, it had dropped to 37.67 billion dollars. In addition to the increase in the prices of fuel oil, gas, and food products in the international market, imports have increased a lot.

Bangladesh has not faced such economic problems with foreign exchange for the last decade. Because both remittances and exports have done more or less well during this period. But now due to the situation that has developed in the world, there is a negative impact on remittances. Exports are good, but the rate at which imports have increased has created pressure on the balance of payments.

Bangladesh’s infrastructure is improving rapidly. Now it’s time to set up various industries. In that case, in order to get raw materials and technical assistance quickly and cheaply, India will have to enter into some kind of financial agreement, which is not dependent on dollars in the parlance of economics. Bangladesh and India are gradually moving in that direction, only at this moment the leaders and ministers of the two countries need helpful to each other in tackling the crisis.

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