Can a coercive strategy in South Asia be counterproductive for the US?
Dr Shakuntala Bhabani
Contd from previous issue
This change in power has an impact on the political and strategic dynamics of the Bay of Bengal region as a whole, in addition to the interests of the United States.
With repeated interactions through the Security Dialogue and Partnership Dialogue, Bangladesh has been an important ally for the United States. The US’s approach to Bangladesh, however, has blatantly seemed inconsistent and unproductive.
The US has acknowledged the strategic value of Bangladesh as a prospective player in the region, but at times, its actions have sent a different message. The US has damaged the relationship and fostered a sense of disenchantment by denying Bangladesh duty-free access to the market and GSP facilities for ten years, placing restrictions on aid, pressing Bangladesh on matters like human rights, and failing to fully resolve bilateral concerns.
In recent years, the United States’ policies toward Bangladesh have generated serious concerns and strained relations between the two countries. Sanctions against seven members of Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a unit in charge of upholding law and order, are one noteworthy instance. Aside from raising questions, this action has strengthened the impression that the US is meddling in Bangladesh’s domestic matters while ignoring the nation’s attempts to fight terrorism and preserve stability.