Government Policy

Bangladesh needs to guard against unfolding instability in Myanmar: Ex-FS

Former Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque on Monday said Bangladesh needs to guard against the unfolding instability in Myanmar and it needs to keep all the windows open, especially with the pro-democracy National Unity Government (NUG).

“We must hope for the restoration of democracy as a major shift towards empowering the ethnic communities in Myanmar,” he said while moderating a webinar.

Haque, also a Fellow of South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) at North South University (NSU), said it seems like the Myanmar military has a state rather than the state has a military.

Commemorating Myanmar’s military coup that occurred on February 1, 2021, the webinar titled “Restoring Democracy in Myanmar: One year after the military coup” was organised by the Center for Peace Studies (CPS).

Brigadier General Dr Shafaat Ahmad (retd), a faculty member of Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) attended the event as the keynote speaker.

He elaborated Myanmar’s internal political dynamics, the characteristics and strategic culture of its Military, the Tatmadaw; Myanmar’s geopolitical environment, including the interests of China, India, the United States, Japan, the European Union, and the ASEAN.

Dr Ahmad reiterated in his presentation that Tatmadaw remains an active player in Myanmar’s relationships with the external powers through its defense diplomacy.

He also said no country intends to intervene directly in the internal affairs of another country, as this may raise all sorts of international legal and political complications.

Dr Ahmad expressed uncertainty that the prospects of opposition military victory against the Tatmadaw are slim now; and thus, the restoration of democracy is very bleak in Myanmar.

He reemphasised that only the people of Myanmar can change the future of Myanmar and establish democracy, but under the current circumstances it is going to be very difficult.

Dr Mahbubur Rahman, Professor, Department of Political Science and Sociology (PSS), NSU said international failure to restore democracy in Myanmar may lead to unprecedented negative consequences for its people and jeopardize regional security.

Therefore, he said, the international community must support and validate the pro-democracy National Unity Government (NUG) to ensure democracy and bring peace.

Dr Mahbubul Haque, a faculty member of the Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia, said Bangladesh is the victim of Myanmar’s internal problems but has less role to play in resolving the overall political crisis.

Unfortunately, he said, the Rohingya crisis has lost global attention to some extent after the military coup.

He indicates less hope for restoration of democracy in Myanmar as the ASEAN is divided and the international community is not doing enough.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji Sufiur Rahman emphasised the importance of Bangladesh’s involvement in resolving Myanmar’s ongoing challenges.

Source: United News of Bangladesh