The Indian government has set a new set of diplomatic lines to engage with Bangladesh and Myanmar involving Japan, according to an announcement made by India’s external affairs minister S Jaishankar.
Bangladesh counterpart is not yet aware of this new development.
Asked about the statement made by Jaishankar, a senior Bangladesh diplomat in Dhaka said that the foreign ministry sought a report from the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi in this regard.
India and Japan are looking at the possibility of cooperating on projects in Bangladesh and Myanmar as part of their efforts to work together in third countries, Jaishankar said on Friday, according to the Hindustan Times.
‘It is important to keep a eye on what new narratives the other countries have been setting forth involving Bangladesh,’ Bangladesh Enterprise Institute president and former ambassador Humayun Kabir told New Age on Saturday.
The India-Japan Act East Forum, which focuses on specific projects to modernise India’s northeastern region, also has a larger significance for connectivity with Bangladesh and Myanmar, Jaishankar said during a virtual event to mark the release of a report on the theme ‘India-Japan: Time to seize the opportunities’.
The recent signing of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, which covers the reciprocal provision of supplies and services by the defence forces of India and Japan, will enhance stability and security across Asia, he said.
Jaishankar’s remarks assume significance against the backdrop of efforts by several countries, including India, Australia and Japan, to forge new partnerships with countries across the Indo-Pacific region in the face of China’s growing aggressive and assertive presence.
India and Japan, Jaishankar noted, had moved from discussions to practically working together in third countries. ‘We have done a little bit of that in Sri Lanka and I think we are today trying to see whether we can cooperate and coordinate more closely in Bangladesh and Myanmar,’ he said.
‘I am very confident that it would both be a big plus for the evolution of the Indo-Pacific vision of both countries, adding to the stability and security of Asia,’ Jaishankar added.
Toshihide Ando, deputy chief of the Japanese embassy in India, said that Japan is a steadfast partner for both the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the world’ initiatives.
‘In an increasingly uncertain world, Japan and India can bring about an assurance of peace, stability and prosperity by working with other like-minded countries,’ Ando added.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs