Myanmar’s 75th Independence Day: What Does It Mean for Bangladesh-Myanmar Bilateral Relations?

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“We are closely working with neighbouring countries such as China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh. We will work together for border stability and development”.

– Min Aung Hlaing

On January 4, Myanmar commemorated its 75th anniversary of independence. The nation gained its independence from Great Britain on this day in 1948. The people of Bangladesh sent their warmest condolences and congratulations to the people of Myanmar on the occasion of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar’s 50th anniversary of independence, as well as their best wishes for inclusive peace and prosperity. Additionally, the address of Min Aung Hlaing, the army chief condemned some nations for meddling in the internal affairs of his nation. But in a very friendly gesture, he expressed gratitude to China, India, Thailand, Laos, and Bangladesh for their long-standing promotion of friendly relations. In his speech to his compatriots. The statement highlights a new phase in relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar and also shapes a new course for the Rohingya crisis. Meanwhile, on October 30, Border Guard Bangladesh and Myanmar Border Guard Police held a battalion-level flag meeting where it was determined to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations while the Myanmar side expressed remorse for recent shelling incidents along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Prior to that, during the shelling, Bangladesh showcased the epoch of using diplomacy to resolve crisis what has paid off through the recent speech of the Myanmar junta chief. This will bring some constructive ramifications in the bilateral domain.

Over the past 50 years, there have been ups and downs in the relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh on a variety of issues. The two nations haven’t been able to forge genuine links despite having several opportunities to do so. Due to these tarnished relations, the residents on both sides are barred from taking use of neighborly benefits. On the other side, the Rohingya crisis has endangered regional stability in addition to the bilateral ties between two nations. Therefore, the two neighbors could benefit from certain shared geographical advantages if their relations improved. Geographically, Bangladesh and Myanmar share a 271 km border. Myanmar is situated to the east of Bangladesh. Because of the terrain’s hills and thick forest cover, it is at least 150 kilometers wide to the southeast. Myanmar is strategically situated between China and India, the two Asian superpowers. Naturally, South Asia and Southeast Asia are key strategic regions for both Bangladesh and Myanmar. In essence, Bangladesh and Myanmar can both be regarded as crossing points between South Asia and Southeast Asia. It will open up a variety of prospects between the two countries.

A common basis is necessary for two countries to take use of all their options, therefore the recent Burmese approach provides a promising sign for improved future cooperative relations.

Transit: New era of transportation linking key forums

Myanmar may simply go through Bangladesh to reach the markets in Bhutan, Nepal, and North East India. Some regional forums, such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which aims to develop both strategically and economically, are shared by Bangladesh and Myanmar. This organization is made up of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Bangladesh and Myanmar might enhance commerce with other Southeast Asian and South Asian nations if their relations with one another improved since Bangladesh can also move eastward of Asia through Myanamr. Bangladesh could serve as a key center to link SAARC and ASEAN. If relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar can be strengthened. Myanmar, a member of ASEAN, will also be able to access the SAARC free-trade zone via Bangladesh.

– Syed Raiyan Amir is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA). Previously, he served as a Research Assistant at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and International Republican Institute (IRI).\

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