14:30, 10 Sep 2007
RUSI, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET
About the event:
RUSI hosted a delegation from the National Defence College of Bangladesh. The delegation was led by Commandant of the College, Lt. Gen Abu Tayeb Muhammad Zahirul Alam (RCDS, PSC) along with this year’s defence college team, a number of civil servants and senior army officers from four other foreign countries.
Discussions of South Asia are increasingly dominated by the rise of India. It is foolish however to forget the importance of other subcontinent states. Bangladesh is an important country, geopolitically situated between the two emerging great powers of India and China. Economically, environmentally and strategically it is a transit nation, a status which creates both challenges and opportunities; porous borders provide the context within which trans-regional terrorism and the economy’s recent booming growth are forged.
Bangladesh faces numerous domestic challenges, not least the current political stalemate. However recent flooding highlights climate change as a dominant security issue facing this small, densely populated state. Externally, the country must adapt to a turbulent subcontinent and changes wrought by two of its neighbours, India and China who are each undergoing profound transformations.
This meeting opened up discussion of the domestic and foreign issues Bangladesh faces. In particular the meeting concentrated on the implications of India and China’s economic and military rise and how Bangladesh should approach this situation and use it to its advantage.