Bangladesh Army Reaches out to Tatmadaw – Myanmar Army
Bangladesh army chief General Aziz Ahmed’s visit to Myanmar for almost a week will attempt to reach out to the Myanmar Army and establish a strong cooperative paradigm that may include more high level visits and inter military exchanges.
“We have good relations with Myanmar and I will be visiting as part of efforts to deepen those ties. The main objective of the visit is to strengthen mutual cooperation between the two armies, possibly including training exchanges,” Bangladesh army chief General Aziz Ahmed told reporters in Dhaka.
The official said, “We enjoy our relations, but unfortunately Myanmar stopped sending their officials to our NDC [the National Defense College in Dhaka] in 2016. So, we want to deepen our relations through mutual cooperation”. General Aziz said, “Our aim is to bring both armies closer and to create scope so that we can discuss various issues of mutual benefit.”
The relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh suffered a blow when objections were raised by Dhaka for Myanmar’s membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
As membership is by consensus of the existing members, consensus could not be reached with Bangladesh delegation expressing objection to Myanmar’s membership at the senior officials’ meet of the Association, mentioning that “the ground reality of Myanmar’s non-cooperation and lack of commitment to repatriate Rohingya refugees have not changed since the last meeting.” The 21st Council of Senior Officials was held at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on November 5-6.
Even as the two countries are locked on the issue of return of the Rohingya over 1 million of the hapless refugees being trapped in squalid camps in Bangladesh the visit of the Army Chief to Myanmar should ensure that the tempers do not rise and a semblance of order in relations are maintained.
This should augur well for the two countries who have been at loggerheads for the past two years plus and despite an agreement in December 2017 have not been able to resolve the issue of return of the Rohingya.
An influence over the Myanmar Army which calls the shots in areas of defence and security may just work.