STRATEGIC INTEREST OF GREAT POWERS IN MYANMAR: POLICY OPTIONS FOR BANGLADESH
Keywords:STRATEGIC INTEREST, GREAT POWERS IN MYANMAR
The central argument of this study is to analyse the impact of great powers’ strategic interest in Myanmar in adopting policy options for Bangladesh. Myanmar’s strategic location on a tri-junction between South Asia, Southeast Asia and China is nevertheless economically and strategically signiﬁcant. Economically, Myanmar is important for China as a trading outlet to the Indian Ocean for its landlocked inland provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. Strategically, Myanmar is important for China to achieve its strategic presence in the Indian Ocean and its long-term two-ocean objective. Furthermore, a China-Myanmar nexus is strategically useful for China to contain India’s inﬂuence in Southeast Asia. On the other hand USA and her EU allies, Russia, UK and India ﬂocked to Myanmar with distinctive objectives of their own interest. The US and her allies want to isolate Myanmar from China and North Korea in their bid to contain inﬂuence of China in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. India also wants her inﬂuence over Myanmar in its effort to gain economic beneﬁt and act as counterbalance to China. India wants to expand her foreign trade with East Asia through using Myanmar as a land bridge. Russia laid emphasis on deriving beneﬁts from geo-economics potentials of Myanmar. All these development in the foreign relation efforts of the great powers are not mere coincidence. It is partly because of political and economic interest of Myanmar and as well as for the strategic interest of great powers.
Under such environment Myanmar is trying to maintain a balance with all without being pawn or pivot to any power. Bangladesh being an immediate next door South Asian neighbor it has multiple bilateral interests in Myanmar. Except a brief period of post independence of Bangladesh bilateral relations between the two countries have been marked with tensions and mistrust on several occasions. Push in of Ruhingya refugee, maritime and land border dispute with mining and fencing by Myanmar are topping on the list of contentious issues. Given the complexities of great power’s interest in Myanmar and Myanmar’s sudden attempt to embrace America and her EU allies, it appears that Bangladesh’s interest in Myanmar is getting marginalized. However, Bangladesh being a neighbor of Myanmar has some inherent advantage of receiving economic beneﬁt of contiguous land border. Under the unfolding competing situation of great powers in Myanmar what should be the strategy of Bangladesh to secure her interest in Myanmar is the outcome of this paper.
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