Strategic alliance with India, Myanmar to exploit sea resources mooted

C Raja Mohan, who is the head of strategic studies and distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, recently at a lecture in Dhaka had mooted the idea to form a trilateral group.

On Tuesday at a roundtable on ‘blue economy’, the idea also came up from the private sector who believed Bangladesh should have a “strategic partnership alliance” with India and Myanmar to exploit sea resources.

The suggestion came up as Bangladesh resolved the maritime dispute with the two neighbours “peacefully”.

Dhaka established its sovereign rights on more than 118,000 sq kms of territorial sea, 200 nautical miles (NM) of exclusive economic zone and 354 NM continental shelves from the Chittagong coast through international courts.

It gave hope of extracting “plenty of resources” beneath the Bay of Bengal that Bangladesh considers its “third neighbour”.

The Board of Investment (BOI) has organised the roundtable inviting both government and private sectors to sensitise them about the prospect of investing in the Bay.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Prime Minister’s adviser on energy and power Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury were present at the roundtable with BOI Executive Chairman SA Samad in the chair.

Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer of an NGO, BUILD, who works on capacity building first put forward the idea at the roundtable. It was endorsed by the Shipping Secretary Syed Monjurul Islam and former Principal Secretary Sheikh Md Wahiduzzaman.

“We can form a partnership alliance with Myanmar and India. It would be better, if it’s done sooner,” Begum said while commenting on keynote paper.

She also stressed on knowledge and capacity building for reaping the benefits of resolving maritime dispute.

She also suggested making strategies for “proper planning and investment” in the sea.

Wahiduzzaman said: “if we have cooperation (with India and Myanamr), then we can gain”.

He also suggested “comprehensive partnership” with India and Myanmar.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh has partnership with India and Myanmar under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

“We are also working for BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) collaboration,” he said.

The workshop was organised just before the beginning of the two-day international conference on “blue economy” on Sep 1 in Dhaka.

Full article: Strategic alliance with India, Myanmar to exploit sea resources mooted (BD News 24)

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