Dhaka [Bangladesh], December 26 (ANI): US may improve strategic ties with Bangladesh to strengthen its Indo-Pacific policy and counter-balance China's increasing ambitions in the region.
The US, however, must be cautious. Bangladesh wants to balance its relations with Beijing and New Delhi, even while it has increased its economic ties to China in recent years. This is why it's essential that Washington pursue a stronger relationship with Dhaka on its own merits, and not simply to bring Bangladesh into an anti-China camp, according to Asia Times.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming recently mentioned about Bangladesh's strategic significance when he warned that China-Bangladesh relations will suffer if Dhaka joins the Quad, an informal grouping that aims to counterbalance Beijing.
Further, Bangladesh's location means it holds significant strategic value for Beijing. China relies on the Strait of Malacca, a narrow waterway between Malaysia, Singapore and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, to import energy and goods from the Middle East and Africa via the Indian Ocean.
Dhaka's relations with Beijing have improved significantly since China launched the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, and the two upgraded their relations to a strategic partnership in 2016 during President Xi Jinping's visit to Bangladesh as the first Chinese head of state in 30 years, according to Asia Times.
Meanwhile, China's courtship of Bangladesh is part of a systematic strategy aimed at expanding Beijing's global influence. China uses infrastructure and Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy to secure greater influence over South Asian states, including Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is also trying to extend this balancing act into geopolitics. This year, Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, stated that Bangladesh is a part of BRI but also wants to be part of the "Indo-Pacific relationship" - a clear reference to the US Indo-Pacific policy, which is strongly endorsed by New Delhi and is meant to counterbalance China, according to Asia Times. (ANI)