Security issues stressed for better ties with Myanmar

Bangladesh first wants to deal with the ‘non-conventional’ security issues with Myanmar and resolve those for ‘enhancing Bangladesh’s engagement’ with the neighbour.

Considering its growing importance, Bangladesh wants to focus more on its close neighbour Myanmar to have improved ties with it in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation paving a ground for boosting trade and commerce.

BD-MymTo that end, an inter-ministerial meeting will be held at the Foreign Ministry on Sunday afternoon where related ministries, including the Home Ministry and the Shipping Ministry, will come up with their respective proposals to prepare a draft on the issue, reports UNB.

“Bangladesh wants to enhance its engagement with Myanmar for further improvement of the existing relations. So, this is part of that,” a senior official at the Foreign Ministry told UNB on Saturday.

Another official involved in the process said the meeting, to be presided over by Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, will discuss the ‘non-conventional’ security issues.

Non-traditional security issues – climate change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, illegal migration, food shortages, human and drug trafficking and transnational crime – are challenges to the survival and wellbeing of the nations and states.

Foreign Ministry sources said the government is willing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Myanmar on non-conventional security cooperation in the coming months after discussing the matter with the related ministries.

The Foreign Ministry is leading the process involving other related ministries.

Meanwhile, vice president of Bangladesh-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) SM Nurul Hoque said Bangladesh needs to take its neighbour Myanmar seriously in strengthening economic ties through maintaining good relations to utilise the untapped high trade potential.

“Businesspeople should be involved very seriously in designing any future plan,” he told UNB.

In the seventh meeting of the Bangladesh-Myanmar Joint Trade Commission (JTC) held in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, on January 14-15, the two countries agreed to work out ways to increase the volume of the annual bilateral trade to $500 million from existing $100 million through establishing greater connectivity.

Myanmar could follow Asia’s fast-growing economies and expand at 7 percent to 8 percent a year, become a middle-income nation, and triple per capita income by 2030 if it can surmount substantial development challenges by further implementing across-the-board reforms, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB) study.

In 2013, ADB resumed operations in Myanmar, with an assistance package for social and economic development that is designed to build a solid foundation for further reforms to alleviate poverty and foster growth.