POST TIME: 17 January, 2021 03:28:12 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 January, 2021 05:49:22 PM
Dhaka-Washington ties to get stronger under Biden Administration: Ambassador Miller
Pressure on Myanmar must continue for safe Rohingya repatriation, he says
UNB, Dhaka

Dhaka-Washington ties to get stronger under Biden Administration: Ambassador Miller

File photo

 US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has said the Bangladesh-US relations will only get stronger with no major changes under the new Biden Administration.

“I think the relationship between the US and Bangladesh will only grow from strength to strength. I don’t see any major changes at this point,” he told UNB in an interview.

US President-elect Joe Biden and his team are now all set to take over office on January 20, 2021.

Ambassador Miller, however, said they will have to see what the new Administration’s policies are and mentioned that many of the people who will be moving to cabinet positions are quite known to him. “Many of them have real focus on the Indo-Pacific region, especially in South Asia.”

Asked whether President-elect Joe Biden will take forward the Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS), the US envoy who also served as US Marine Corps officer said, “I think so. No matter what it is called, how it is rebranded, the focus of the United States will continue to be very strong in this region.”

Outgoing US President Donald J. Trump made US engagement in the Indo-Pacific region a top priority of his Administration. In November 2017, in Vietnam, he outlined a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific in which all countries prosper side by side as sovereign, independent states.

Free, fair, and reciprocal trade, open investment environments, good governance, and freedom of the seas are goals shared by all who wish to prosper in a free and open future.

Ambassador Miller said he does not necessarily see IPS as something countering the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). “IPS is just US’ philosophy that the region should be governed by the principles of good governance and freedom of the seas.”

The envoy, also the recipient of numerous US government honors, including the Department of State’s Award for Heroism, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Shield of Bravery, said Indo Pacific countries can certainly benefit from trillions of dollars of investment as there is untapped potential and that is why the investors will look towards countries like Bangladesh.

Put Pressure on Myanmar

Ambassador Miller said joint efforts should be there to continue to put the pressure on Myanmar to produce the circumstances on the ground so that all the Rohingyas can return to their homeland in a “safe, dignified and voluntary” manner and that has to begin soon.

Bangladesh, Myanmar and China will hold a tripartite meeting on Rohingya repatriation in Dhaka on January 19 as Dhaka finds the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar as the only solution to the crisis.

Responding to a question on the tripartite mechanism, the US Ambassador said any country can do it to help resolve this crisis and it is useful.

“The pressure has to be on Myanmar. It’s not fair for Bangladesh to shoulder this enormous burden. There’re many donors in the international community who have stepped up. We would like to see others join us,” he said adding that the US would like to see other countries be more vocal in supporting Bangladesh and Rohingyas on the international stage including in Geneva and at the United Nations.