US should bet on Bangladesh

Natural disasters, poverty and overpopulation are the reductive lenses through which many international observers view Bangladesh. While the country’s recent economic success has captured global attention, it is still rarely on the radars of strategic thinkers.

Yet Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming recently delivered a useful reminder about Bangladesh’s strategic significance when he warned that China-Bangladesh relations will suffer if Dhaka joins the Quad, an informal grouping that aims to counterbalance Beijing.

During its early years, Bangladesh suffered through military coups and economic stagnation. These conditions kept Bangladesh, now a fragile democracy, isolated globally for decades. Even today, in South Asian geopolitical discourse, Bangladesh – when not ignored altogether – is often viewed through the prism of India, an influential player in the subcontinent’s geopolitics, and of its other neighbors.

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