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Feb 09
Business & Politics
U.S. Has No Plans For Military Base In Bangladesh

The U.S. Sunday said that it has no plan to set up a military base in Bangladesh though Washington expressed its willingness to assist that country in maritime patrol and secure its unprotected territorial sea lanes, media reports said.

“I think there are some interests in maritime patrol so you can protect your sea areas better. We can help their (border security agencies’) activities but the modalities will depend on what Bangladesh wants,” Richard Boucher, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said while winding up his two-day visit here.

Brushing aside a suggestion that the U.S. might be planning to set up a military base –a sensitive issue that goes back to the cold war era–in Bangladesh, he said “We do not have any intention for a permanent presence (in Bangladesh).”

He said the U.S. has a lot of cooperation with different countries, different governments and different agencies and some are with civilian agencies, like police, and some are with military agencies.

Boucher, who interacted with Bangladesh’s top leadership, said his talks explored areas of cooperation between the new governments in Dhaka and Washington headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Barack Obama.

The U.S. offer of assistance in marine patrols came amidst a dispute over oil and gas exploration between Myanmar and Bangladesh in waters claimed by Dhaka in the Bay of Bengal. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar have deployed warships in the Bay of Bengal to establish their claims.

The U.S. official identified new areas like climate change, agriculture and health-care and assured continuation of U.S. support to Bangladesh

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