Despite the interest shown in Bangladesh in the last 15 years, Myanmar always kept itself away from it. It seems that Myanmar does not think any need to strengthen relations with Bangladesh.In 2002, the then BNP government declared their ‘Look East’ or ‘Eastward’ policy in foreign policy.
It was at the core of that policy to develop relations with Southeast Asian countries through Myanmar. But that initiative did not give any results.
Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury was then the secretary of Bangladesh. He says, I did not always get good response from Myanmar.
At that time Western countries on Myanmar had economic sanctions.Shamser Mobin Chowdhury said, “Myanmar shows that we want to build a good relationship with us.
We did not get the same response from them on certain issues, they kept the issues unresolved, especially the Rohingya problem.”
Bangladesh hoped that in the end of military rule in Myanmar the situation would improve. But there was no such progress in reality.
Instead of improving the situation on the Rohingya issue, it has deteriorated.The ambassador of Bangladesh to Myanmar from 2009 to 2014 was Major General Anup Kumar Chakma.
He said the Rohingya issue became the biggest obstacle in the relations between the two countries. Although Bangladesh has tried to strengthen relations with Myanmar.
Myanmar’s long-standing military rule and the economic sanctions of the Western countries led to the establishment of good relations with China.
Later, Myanmar developed good relations with India and Southeast Asian countries. As a result, Myanma Bangladesh has never considered Bangladesh financially and politically.
Myanmar is considered to be important for the economic potential of Bangladesh, but Myanmar does not see Bangladesh like that. Moreover, Myanmar is geographically advantageous than Bangladesh.Analysts believe that Bangladesh’s importance to Myanmar is not so much.
Southeast Asian countries – To increase trade with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, Myanmar is the gateway to that region for Bangladesh.
Former diplomats say that although many times the Rohingyas were forced to withdraw from Bangladesh, they did not want to tie my relations with Bangladesh.
Ali Ashraf, professor of international relations at Dhaka University, thinks that Myanmar is very important for Bangladesh, but Bangladesh is not so important to Myanmar.
Moreover, due to the strengthening of Myanmar relations with China and India, Bangladesh is not very important to them, Prof Ashraf said.