Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Editor
In a modern state system, countries share borders both in territorial and maritime domains. State, border and conflict — these three variables always play a significant role in defining interstate relations under the Westphalian order. In the face of the new dynamics in the age of changing world politics, territorial dispute, illegal activities and movements across borders, violation of border norms as well as threat to sovereignty have influenced the relations with neighbouring countries. Such kind of behavior is not only deteriorating bilateral relations, but also cause negative impacts on regional and global peace and harmony. Notably, continuous violation of border by the Myanmar security forces and ongoing exodus of Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) into Bangladesh has been a usual phenomenon. At the one side, these are creating mistrust and confusion between the two countries, one the other side, such activities are detrimental to regional peace and security. Additionally, with the current realities in international politics, accelerated by conflict, competition, war and crisis, relations between and among bordering states are going through constant changes.
The rise of Bangladesh in the domains of economy, politics, diplomacy and military has been phenomenal. The country has emerged from the war-torn economy to a role model of development through a tectonic change in a holistic manner. The world is now glorifying Bangladesh with the recognition of role model of economic development, leader of climate diplomacy, voice of the Global South, proponent of regional and sub-regional cooperation as well as a responsible rising military power. Against this backdrop, the Journal of Bangladesh and Global Affairs has identified on a range of issues to publish its first issue of Volume Two. This issue of the Journal has covered a number of articles on diverse issues including global refugee crisis, border relations, the Rohingya crisis, infrastructure development, and the idea of minilaterism to multilateralism. The world has been witnessing a rising number of forcibly displaced persons in the world in the backdrop of the Ukraine War and several intrastate and inter-state conflicts. Widespread and large-scale displacements have created a new global catastrophe that threatens peace everywhere in the world. In the article titled Global Refugee Crisis as a Threat to Peace: Insights and Outlook, Delwar Hossain has reminded the global community about the need for repatriation of growing number of refugees in the world. It is true that peace, whether perceived as a means or an end, is the greatest pursuit of human society. Although the world has seen remarkable progress of human civilization and enormous economic and technological changes in the past decades, it is marked by enduring conflicts, disputes, war and violence. Ironically, the world remains a place where people have been pursuing self-seeking goals in highly individualistic cultures. States remain hostage to power politics with an abiding focus on geopolitical and economic interests. In this context, the paper is an attempt to understand the relations between the refugee crisis and peace in order to find ways of mitigating the sufferings and traumas of refugees worldwide. The refugee crisis in the world demonstrates limitations of the global order based on distribution of power and capitalism. Refugee crisis is a trend not a blip. Precisely, it is the outcome of conflicts and persecution at intrastate, inter-state, regional and global levels. The United Nations through its manifold activities – security, development, cultural and environmental- has been contributing to peace, but the crisis persists. The paper argues that the ongoing global refugee crisis has assumed a formidable challenge to peace in the world that needs an urgent attention from the global community before it gets too late.
Being the neighboring countries, Bangladesh and Myanmar share both territorial, aerial and maritime borders. Hence, there are expectations that both the countries should reap the huge potentials lie in the cross border relations. But, the border relations between the two countries, engaging both people and state, are not so good. In the article entitled, People, State and Border: Examining Bangladesh-Myanmar Border Relations, Hossain and Islam claim that internal dynamics in Myanmar are influencing border relations between the two countries. The continuous violation of border, increasing illegal activities i.e. trafficking, smugglings, repeated haughty behavior of Myanmar Army are obstructing to realize the cross border potentialities. Moreover, the position of Myanmar in the Rohingya refugee crisis acts as a major obstacle in maintaining a cordial border relation with Bangladesh. The article observes that Bangladesh is enthusiastic to promote cooperative framework to reduce the differences and thus wants to exploit the huge untapped opportunities between the two countries. Therefore, Bangladesh considers Myanmar as a significant route to enhance regional cooperation and development. The authors suggest that Myanmar side needs to stop the unfriendly behavior across the borders with Bangladesh and come forward with cooperative manner to realize the intact potentials.
In the article entitled, International Cooperation and Infrastructure Development in Bangladesh: An Analysis of Financial and Technical Support System, Chowdhury has focused on the relations between infrastructure development and international cooperation in the case of Bangladesh. He defends that the bulk of infrastructure development in Bangladesh has been materialized by advancing cooperation with external world. International cooperation in the form of both financial and technical supports have played a seminal role in forwarding Bangladesh’s infrastructure development drive. Notably, Bangladesh has made economic success by wheeling the infrastructure development. In doing so, the country has taken specific initiatives and develop policies. The article claims that reform initiatives, aid diplomacy, economic diplomacy as a foreign policy tool and branding Bangladesh have made it possible in advancing international cooperation. The evolving crisis from the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) in Bangladesh is inflicting huge burden to the country. It is no denying the fact that the crisis is not only causing implications on Bangladesh but also creating threats to regional and global peace and security. Nonetheless, Bangladesh has been showing great humanity and trying her best to provide foods and shelter to the FDMN. Chowdhury, in the article titled Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) in Bangladesh: Need for Repatriation to Myanmar, has firmly argued that sustainable and dignified repatriation of FDMN to their motherland can resolve the crisis. The author also contends that Bangladesh has done a lot. Now, the global community should come forward to resolve the crisis. Political, financial and diplomatic initiatives from the regional and global community can sort out the crisis.
In the age of globalization and interdependence, connectivity and cooperation has been an integral catalyst for regional integration and development. Noticeably, Bangladesh’s rise as a regional economy and aspiring power has prompted the country to advance new connectivity initiatives and facilitate existing integration drives. In this background, the article on From Minilateralism to Multilateralism: Connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia through Bangladesh, has developed the idea of minilateralism as a strategy of connectivity in South and Southeast Asia. It argues that the unique geographical location of Bangladesh with its increasing role as a thriving economic power will play a pivotal role in accelerating regional integration. The article also claims that the trickle-down effects of minilatreal initiatives will advance multilateral connectivity schemes, where Bangladesh will play a constructive role in fostering regional connectivity and cooperation.