The world enters in 2023 with the legacies of challenges of 2022 and with a hope for reversing the atmosphere of war, conflicts and unrest. In envisioning a world without the devastation of war and conflict, the United Nations has been playing a major role in the world since its birth in 1945 to mitigate the sufferings of people. At its 77th year of establishment, the UN is continuing to work for making a better world ensuring peace and stability. As one of the powerful instruments of the UN is its peace operations, the need for maintaining peace has been more relevant than ever. Notably, the remarkable contribution of Bangladesh in the UN peacekeeping operations globally is highly commendable. Apart from that, evolving strategic, diplomatic and humanitarian issues in the Bay of Bengal region are adding new dimensions in the regional and global politics.
Power has been an integral part of a country’s foreign policy and international relations. However, the idea of power has been expanded from the traditional hard power to soft power, smart power and sharp power. From the scholarly vantage point, soft power was conceived by Joseph S. Nye in his book Bound to Lead in 1990. Since then, the idea of ‘soft power’ has been employed by the states whether powerful or weak. Against this background, the Journal of Bangladesh and Global Affairs has focused on a variety of issues. This issue of Journal has included a number of papers on diverse issues covering peacekeeping, maritime diplomacy, power rivalry, food security, Rohingya crisis and role of women in peacekeeping.
In the paper entitled, Bangladesh in Global Peacekeeping: Military as a Soft Power Portraying the Country as Responsible Power, Manish has advanced the idea of military as a soft power, highlighting Bangladesh’s remarkable contribution to peacekeeping missions. The author argues the critical role of soft power for any country to rise as a responsible power. The article has pointed out optimistic and overwhelming international and local responses in enhancing the global image, thus, proving peacekeeping missions as a soft power for Bangladesh. It contends that Bangladesh’s response to a particular conflict around the world demonstrates the country’s adherence to normative, idealistic, and moral values of maintaining peace and international security.
Bangladesh is an acknowledged maritime state. The nation enjoys a strong maritime legacy. To conduct its maritime trade, to create a rules-based maritime order, and to deepen maritime cooperation with other states, Bangladesh employs maritime diplomacy. In the article entitled, Understanding Bangladesh’s Maritime Diplomacy: Strategic Hedging or Peaceful Engagement? it has been argued that Bangladesh is pursuing diplomacy in the face of the growing strategic and geopolitical rivalry in the Bay of Bengal region. It defends that Bangladesh is adapting peaceful engagement maintaining a friendly relation, but not following strategic hedging in meeting the challenges. Bangladesh is pursuing its objectives through maritime diplomacy via peaceful means.
Saddam Hosen, in his article on Global and Regional Implications of Sino-Indian Rivalry: A Focus on the Strategic and Economic Dimensions, makes an effort to answer two key questions. To begin, what strategic and economic implications does the Sino-Indian conflict have? Second, what are the global and regional trends in Sino-India conflict in the future? Even though there is a lot of literature on Sino-Indian ties and conflict, there’s much less academic concentration on the implications of Sino-Indian conflict, especially in the hard power dimension. Hosen observes that in international and regional affairs, the Sino-Indian competition is not a new phenomenon. The dispute between India and China has posed significant geostrategic challenges to regional peace and security in Asia in recent years. He further points out that the geopolitical rivalry between India and China would likely enhance China’s naval presence in the Indian Ocean region to challenge India and western allies. In terms of the economic dimension, India and its western allies, such as the United States and Japan, can develop new supply chains in IOR in order to diminish China’s reliance. Hosen argues that while the future of the Sino-Indian conflict may bring great competition rather than cooperation, the reality of the economic system and transnational developments may enable India and China to expand their economic collaboration.
The article on Food Security in Bangladesh: Concerns and Remedies analyses the state of food security in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a densely populated nation where a significant proportion of people lives below the poverty line. The primary task for the government is to ensure food security. During the past decade, the present government has launched free food distribution, food-friendly programs, open market sales, and test alleviation programs as part of its food security program. In addition, projects based on digital technology have been implemented to enhance the monitoring and data management capabilities of the Ministry of Food. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have generated a food crisis due to a lack of food accessibility, stability, and proper utilization. This study seeks to identify and assess the threats to food security in Bangladesh by identifying the significant challenges and promising areas for future development.
The evolving crisis from the unending sufferings of the Rohingyas has been narrated in the article titled on The Rohingya Crisis in the Context of Sino-Indian Geopolitical Competition in Myanmar. Saimum and Talukder have argued that the crisis has political, religious, ethnic, and geo-strategic dimensions, focusing on the regional geopolitical aspects. The article seeks to analyse the geopolitical dimensions of the crisis in the milieu of Sino-Indian rivalry in Myanmar. The paper has tried to demystify the role of such competition in the protraction of the crisis. It has explained both the internal and external factors of the crisis with the particular reference of geopolitics.
In the article titled Female Participation from Bangladesh in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Challenges and Opportunities, Daiyan has delved into the role of female participation of women peacekeepers of Bangladesh to the UN peace operations. As the recruitment of women to the UN peacekeeping contributes to empower women, decrease disparity and reflect the defining role of them to the global peace, the endeavour is obviously an honourable. In addition, the entitlement of Bangladesh’s women peacekeepers is quite noticeable. In the paper, the author argues that despite the challenges in peacekeeping, there are opportunities also.Read as a Pdf: Editor’s Note