US cutter ship, faster boats to join Bangladesh navy, coast guardDiplomatic correspondent
The United States will hand over a coast guard cutter ship to Bangladesh later this year and 16 more faster super performance boats to enhance the capability of Bangladesh navy and coast guard in securing the country’s maritime resources.
The cutter ship which is under the process of decommissioning will be the largest ship to join the Bangladesh navy fleet.
This was stated by Admiral Cecil D Haney, commander of the US Pacific Fleet and US ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena during a roundtable at the ambassador’s residence on Tuesday afternoon with a group of select journalists.
Admiral Haney, who met with the chiefs of the Bangladesh navy, the coast guard and the prime minister’s defence adviser Major General Tarique Siddiqui, said the US navy wanted to work with Bangladesh navy to ensure peace, security and stability in the sea for its economic viability.
The US admiral said over $5 trillion of commerce of the world trade moved through the sea from Malacca strait to South China and $1.3 trillion of US merchandise passed through the Indian Ocean from the US west coast to the region, including the Bay of Bengal.
So, the admiral said, peace and security of the Asia-Pacific was important for free movement of commerce of the United States. ‘It’s important for navy to have capability … to readily respond to military activities as well as natural disasters.’
In reply to a question, Admiral Cecil said he believed that the presence of the US navy in the region had stabilising effects on global commerce.
‘Maritime domain is complex … We are able to help each other to address the challenges… and understand the maritime environment, he said.
Ambassador Mozena said Bangladesh, the second largest garment exporter, also depends on sea route as almost all its exports go by sea. He said sea route is vital for Bangladesh as it has a long maritime boundary that needs to be protected from trafficking of people, arms and drugs smuggling and terrorists and pirates.
‘I hope someday oil and gas would be found in the Bay of Bengal which needs to be protected,’ he said.
The ambassador said the incidents of robbery had dropped by 70 per cent as the Bangladesh coast guard attained enhanced capacity with US support.
Admiral Cecil commended the settlement of maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar through international mechanism.
Asked if the US was ready to come in aid if Bangladesh’s maritime boundary was threatened by aggression, the admiral said he would not answer any hypothetical question but added that they must always be ready to face any challenge in this uncertain world.
Asked about Bangladesh’s purchase of military hardware from Russia, he said Bangladesh has right to work with another nation as America does.
About the US strategy in the Asia Pacific, he said it was not only about rebalancing its military but rebalancing of the whole of government strategy in the areas of economy, information and disaster management.
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