Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) President Major General (Retd) ANM Muniruzzaman has said Bangladesh is a key maritime power as it is geographically located at a key geostrategic location at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal.
"Bangladesh is also a Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean Country. This is what gives us dual importance in all issues regarding the maritime matters of the world," he said, adding that a major portion of the energy traffic flows through the Indian Ocean. Muniruzzaman also added that as the key Bay of Bengal country, Bangladesh is a member of several initiatives at the regional and global levels.
"Hence, Bangladesh, behind playing an active role in the region and beyond, in maritime issues, has to align with national interests," he said while moderating a discussion.
BIPSS organized the discussion on ‘Bangladesh: Our Maritime Future’ in Dhaka on Saturday.
The event featured distinguished speaker Rear Admiral A.S.M.A Awal, former Ambassador and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy.
Awals’ lecture focused on three areas: sea lines of communication, sea resources, and strategic domain.
He focused on the various features of maritime issues and Bangladesh's context of dealing with maritime matters. According to him, national power has to align with the capability of any country.It is only possible when state leaders focus on critical mass, economic, and military capability, he said.
He also added that strategy and political will have to be there as the good ingredients of national power in any country.
In the 21st century, the geopolitical and security situation in the Indian Ocean is crucial as it is in the middle of connecting Africa, Asia, and Australia.
While discussing maritime interests in Bangladesh, Awal also talked about the political interests, economic interests, and military Aspects.
In the military aspect, there are 2 threats: traditional and non-traditional threats, he said adding that climate change is also a big issue that affects the sea area.
An interactive session was held where the audience shared their thoughts after the discussion.
The questions focused on the Indo-Pacific strategy, the blue economy and its advantages, the existing Navy structure to protect maritime resources, the power, and influence of regional and neighboring powers.
Former ambassadors, diplomats from Dhaka-based Embassies, officials from international organizations, and academics attended the event.