US must have a clear policy of its own in respect of Bangladesh17 June 2015 Editorial Desk
US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat on Sunday has welcomed the agreements signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka last week. She has termed the deals as positive for economic development across the borders in South Asia through enhanced regional connectivity.
Speaking at a function of Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at a local hotel Ambassador Bernicat was full of praise for the deals India made with Bangladesh and said that these deals laid the groundwork for cheaper and more reliable energy, better roads and bridges, the increased flow of people and trade and better use of precious resources for development. She has also pointed out that Bangladesh's strategic location between South and Southeast Asia and its promising growth of garment industry and other high tech sectors are working as catalysts to the country's transition to a fast growing economy.
The US Ambassador is not here to sell and support India's policy about how good it is for us. We can judge and appreciate that. Our question is how obliging is the US Ambassador in Bangladesh to India?
But what is dismaying at this moment is the lack of any visible US initiative in Bangladesh to claim that the 'most powerful democracy' in the world is also making significant stride here. We can also see the success of India's diplomacy in Bangladesh and the results of the deals India made with Bangladesh are being discussed and debated here. While appreciating some aspects of the deals, there are also those who see Bangladesh in an isolated position for which our bargaining position with India is almost non-existent. We need strong leadership for our own good and that strength can only by supplied by the people and not by a bureaucratic cabal.
Some see the US policy in Bangladesh as relying on India and does not care to have a policy of its own for Bangladesh. This is no credit for America or its ambassador in Bangladesh. This is also not honourable for Bangladesh. Surely Bangladesh is not so unimportant that it does deserve from other countries their own independent considerations. The fact is America is losing influence in Asia for its neglect to regional issues or foreign policy indecisions.
The people of Bangladesh believe in friendship with all as the best way to serve and protect their best interest and play its role in the world context. The US policy towards Bangladesh has been a baffle to our people since the liberation war. This is so in spite of the fact that US has been most helpful for our economy .It is only logical that the people of Bangladesh expect proper response from each country including the USA to their desire for friendship to all and malice to none.
Unquestionably, we need to have good relationship with India and no misgivings. We have been clear in saying that crisis of democracy in Bangladesh affects every aspect of our life and our relationship with others.
The US Ambassador has to realise her own unflattering position in Bangladesh for not having a policy of its own. She is not here to advocate another country's policy.