Bangladesh and the Great Powers
This chapter argues that Bangladesh’s strategic importance is on the rise in an age that has seen the return of geopolitics. Political relations between the two countries have been marked by high-level bilateral visits, with Colin Powell being the first US Secretary of State to visit Bangladesh in 2003 and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visiting in 2012. Bangladesh–US bilateral economic relations, which were marked by aid and remittances, sent from the United States until the early 1990s, have traversed into trade relations where the American aid is tiny compared to Bangladeshi goods sold in the US market. The US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Kelly’s much-quoted statement summarizes Bangladesh’s emerging strategic importance to America: In a broader perspective US values Bangladesh’s geographical location. As Bangladesh–China embarked upon solidifying bilateral relations, the initial strategy was to strengthen economic ties in the forms of economic and military assistance and trade relations.