’Economic Framework’ of IPS to be released soon; draft on GSOMIA passed

Bangladesh has underscored the need for having an economic component in the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), in response to which the US side informed that “Economic Framework” of the IPS would be released soon.

During the Partnership Dialogue held at State guesthouse Padma on Sunday, the two governments reaffirmed their commitment to enduring partnership, highlighting close cooperation on security, development, humanitarian assistance, and counterterrorism.

The two governments agreed to continue to cooperate closely to advance a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region.

Bangladesh and the US also passed a “draft” on the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) which is seen as a “gateway” to do more on the security front.

“Today, we passed a draft agreement and we are very confident that we will be able to get the issue settled so that we can do more on the security side together,” US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told reporters during a joint media briefing.

The United States is currently working with the Government of Bangladesh to conclude certain foundational defence agreements (GSOMIA and ACSA), which are “essential” to enabling a closer defence relationship, expanding opportunities for defence trade, information sharing, and military-to-military cooperation between our two countries.

The GSOMIA is a foundational government-to-government bilateral agreement that will permit greater collaboration and sharing of classified military information in the form of intelligence and classified information U.S. defence equipment.

GSOMIA is a reciprocal, legally binding agreement that ensures governments understand and commit to protecting classified military information at an equivalent level of security, according to US documents.

It does not obligate or commit governments to share classified information or material, it only ensures equivalent protection of the information if shared.

Responding to a question, Nuland said there are economic, security and technology elements in the IPS and they would love to see Bangladesh be involved in much of it (IPS).

Discussion on the issue of repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingyas also took place.

Bangladesh shared its priority on the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas as soon as possible.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen who led the Bangladesh side suggested that the recently concluded MoU between Bangladesh and UNHCR on Bhasan Char should pave the way for US humanitarian assistance in Bhasan Char.

Nuland assured of the US’s continued political and humanitarian support for the Rohingya crisis.

The FS also called upon the US side to consider restoring GSP facilities for Bangladeshi RMG exports and also requested US support for the trade facilitation proposals for graduating LDCs in the auspices of the WTO.

Source: United News of Bangladesh