Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Upcoming Visit to Japan: Exploring Security and Strategic Imperatives in Bangladesh-Japan Relations

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Japan was one of the first nations to provide support in the development of the post-independence war-torn Bangladesh and historically is considered an all-weather friend of Bangladesh. Japan has been Bangladesh’s major partner since then, especially in the development field. However, the relationship between Bangladesh and Japan is no longer confined to the development domain rather it has upgraded to a strategic partnership in the changing political landscape. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the “Comprehensive Partnership” between Bangladesh and Japan is now poised to be upgraded to a “Strategic Partnership”. Both Bangladesh and Japan can multiply the existing areas of cooperation to attain multiple benefits. One of the key elements of the growing “Japan-Bangladesh Comprehensive Partnership” is highlighted in the strategy. On the occasion of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Japan, the two nations are prepared to advance their bilateral relations to a strategic level.

Japan’s Emerging Security Quest in the Indian Ocean

Since the period of the previous prime minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s stance on security and defense has changed. Given that Japan imports a significant share of its raw materials from the Middle East to fulfill the demands of its industries, and given that roughly 80% of its maritime trade is carried through this sea-trade route, the Indian Ocean has particularly emerged as a lifeline for Japan. Via its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China deepened its commercial relations with nations bordering the Indian Ocean and has continued to develop deep seaports worldwide. As a result, Japan’s marine trade will surely find itself in a challenging situation in the future if there is any unrest in this region. Because of this, a new strategy for Japan’s foreign policy is the growth of its strategic ties with the nations of the Indian Ocean. To counter China’s BRI in the Indo-Pacific area and maintain uninterrupted access to its maritime lanes, Japan has already established ‘QUAD,’ a collaborative security venture with Australia, India, and the United States.

– Delwar Hossain, PhD is Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the founder of the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

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