Bangladesh joins the Indo-Pacific region to face the challenges of the 21st century

The US-initiated Indo-Pacific strategy has been a topic of intense debate among world leaders and the general public in recent years. The Indo-Pacific region, which stretches from the Pacific coast to the Indian Ocean, caught the White House’s attention for a number of reasons. George W. Bush, one of the most prominent US presidents, recognized the region’s growing significance and subsequently engaged with Australia, India, and Japan. Following that, 44th US president, Barack Obama, addressed the region seriously and pushed plans for using diplomatic, economic, and military forces. The Indo-Pacific region was described as the world’s center of gravity by President Donald Trump in one of his addresses.

The Indo-Pacific strategy issue was finally brought to light under the presidency of Joe Biden, the 46th president, and the US is now resolved to strengthen its long-term position in and commitment to the Indo-Pacific. From Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia through South Asia and Oceania, including the Pacific Islands, the White House is committed to working on every part of the region.

The United States is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region that is integrated, prosperous, secure, and resilient. The White House in the US has focused attention on Asian problems linked to peace, security, and economic issues for many years. The fact that the area is home to more than half of the world’s population and roughly two-thirds of the global economy should not be overlooked.

The present government has been working hard to realize US goals in the Indo-Pacific area. Along with its regional allies and partners, the US administration hopes to move forward. The US’s partners and allies who are involved in the Indo-Pacific Strategy will undoubtedly see significant changes in a variety of areas. In accordance with the new strategy, the US is committed to cooperating closely with global allies that share its vision in order to keep the region open and accessible to all.

The sky and waters of the area must be governed in accordance with international standards and law. The strategy will include the US’s involvement in modernizing its established alliances, bolstering new partnerships, and making investments in regional organizations. The role will undoubtedly provide the Indo-Pacific more power in an effort to meet the problems of the twenty-first century.

Over 50% of the world’s population and 65% of its ocean surface are concentrated in the Indo-Pacific region. The area is responsible for two-thirds of the global economy and 60% of the global GDP. The amount of military personnel in the area, which supports more than three million American jobs and is the source of close to $ 900 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US, is impressive, according to the White House document.

The White House report also disclosed that the US will pursue the following five goals in the Indo-Pacific: (1) Encourage an open and free Indo-Pacific (2) Create links both within and outside of the area; (3) Promote regional prosperity; (4) Strengthen Indo-Pacific security; and (5) Increase regional resistance to external threats. The US promises to offer dynamism to the region based on these five goals. Under target 2, the ties with five regional treaty alliances—with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand—will be further improved. The United States now has a more promising future thanks to an alliance known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is a leader in Southeast Asia.

While launching new high-level engagements on issues relating to health, climate and environment, energy, transportation, and gender equity and equality, the US will further its long-standing cooperation with ASEAN. In the near future, ASEAN will become a key regional partnership.

The implementation of the Indo-Pacific plan connects both government-to-government and people-to-people relationships. According to information obtained, the US is the top international education provider for students from the Indo-Pacific region. Students from the Indo-Pacific area study in the US in about 68% of cases.

Many plans and programs have been launched under the objective “Drive Indo-Pacific Prosperity” in an effort to achieve the region’s goal of broad-based economic growth. Plans call for promoting innovation, boosting economic competitiveness, creating well-paying jobs, re-building supply networks, and increasing the number of economic prospects for middle-class groups. According to a White House estimate, 1.5 billion individuals in the Indo-Pacific are predicted to enter the global middle class this decade.

The US will present a cutting-edge economic framework with the goal of empowering the local economy. The area will develop into a competitive economic centre by strengthening economic ties among itself. It is anticipated that in the near future, trade and commerce between the US and the region in question will increase significantly. In 2020, the US and the Indo-Pacific area would trade $1.75 trillion worth of goods back and forth, according to a White House report.

In 2020, the US’s FDI in the region reached more than 969 billion. There is a significant chance that there will be an increase in FDI inflow in the future because the US continues to be the top investment partner in ASEAN member countries. During the host year, 2023, and beyond, the partners will make joint investments and cooperate within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to promote free, fair, and open trade and investment.

Bangladesh most recently attracted attention by releasing a 15-point Indo-Pacific Outlook (IPO). An IPO has been announced in an effort to transform the country into a contemporary, knowledge-based developed nation by 2041. In its initial public offering, Bangladesh focused primarily on infrastructure and economic development as components of the market’s current demands. The Indo-Pacific strategy concept will significantly aid Bangladesh in attracting FDI given the existing circumstances.

The expansion of commerce with the US and the FDI inflow have become crucial issues in addressing LDC graduation issues. For the benefit of its national growth, Bangladesh maintains an even balance in its diplomatic relations. Maintaining geopolitical equilibrium is a critical need for economic growth. It is an admirable endeavor that Bangladesh is participating in the Indo-Pacific Strategy through IPO.

Dr. Sabera Chowdhury
Dr. Sabera Chowdhury
Senior researcher at South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, Canada.