The first meeting under the Bangladesh-US Security Dialogue was held on April 19th at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS). Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro led the American delegation while Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mustafa Kemal headed the Bangladeshi side.
According to officials, the meeting highlighted growing cooperation between US and Bangladesh in security and defense arenas, and commitment to peace and security in the region. The dialogues process will expand in the future to cover political-military affairs, promoting partnerships in peacekeeping, joint military exercises and exchanges, combating counterterrorism, and security cooperation.
US recently deployed counter-terrorist operatives in India, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. US Pacific commander Admiral Robert Willard told a congressional hearing on the subject,
“We are working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government.” The particular threat Willard mentioned was Lashkar-e-Toiba (Let) based out of Pakistan.
The security dialogue with Bangladesh has been initiated at a time when US relations with Pakistan are under considerable stress while China is expanding its security and trade relations in the region. Addtionally, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan trade and economic cooperation is showing considerable potential.