‘Bangladesh a key partner, a key player’
Shehabuddin Kisslu, New York Correspondent
NEW YORK: Robert Willard, the Admiral, US Asia-Pacific Command, categorically said Bangladesh not only as a key partner to the US and a key player within the South Asia region.
The Admiral Robert Willard, who was the 7th Fleet commander, made the observation while talking to journalists on ‘Asia Pacific US Military Overview’ at the state department Saturday.
He added: “Our relationship with Bangladesh is a very important one, both from the standpoint of security in South Asia and particularly as it relates to the work that we do together to counter violent extremist organizations, but also as a prominent player throughout Southeast Asia in the region cooperating on the overall security there.”
Willard told journalist that “Strategic partnership with Bangladesh is very, very important, Bangladesh not only as a key partner to the US and a key player within the South Asia region, with very close ties to India and levels of cooperation that I think in the past two years with India have been unprecedented, progress in counter-terror, and continued work within Bangladesh.”
He said, “Frankly, we participate in this with regard to its resiliency to deal the natural disasters that have become as predictable as the cyclone seasons swing through the Bay of Bengal and threaten Bangladesh.”
Willard told the journalists that “It’s at a very important time in the world’s history with so much ongoing and so many varying places. “It’s a pivotal time for the US military, and it’s certainly a challenging time and will remain challenging, we anticipate, in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
He said the responsibilities of the United States Pacific Command extend from the West Coast of the United States to the dividing line between India and Pakistan.
He emphasized it’s important to keep the balance between the Pacific and Indian Oceans in perspective as in the global environment, there is more and more interaction occurring as we depending on where we’re talking about in the world.
The challenge in any nation creating area denial capabilities and packaging them in a way that appears to deny space, especially international airspace and international maritime space, it will generate a degree of uncertainty and discomfort in the region, the journalists were told.
The South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Yellow Sea areas, which are broad maritime spaces, carry vast amounts of commerce that are vital to the Asia Pacific region and vital to the United States–in the South China Sea alone, $5.3 trillion of bilateral annual trade, $1.2 trillion of which is US bilateral, he added.
Willard also told journalists that the presence of foreign militaries that are guarding that vast amount of commerce and guarding that vast maritime area against a variety of transnational threats, their presence there is vital.
The fact that area denial capabilities would reside there is discomforting admiral, Willard said, “I think that as we think about A2AD wherever it is in the world, we have to think about the veiled or not so veiled threat that that poses to regional neighbors, given their interests in the maritime and air domains, and the fact that those areas are vital to the commerce, the security, and prosperity of the Asia Pacific.”
BDST: 1945 HRS, JAN 28, 2012