Thailand could benefit from the relationship between Myanmar and Bangladesh
Diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Thailand were established after Thailand recognized Bangladesh on October 5, 1972. Thailand opened its embassy in Dhaka in 1974 and Bangladesh established its embassy in Bangkok at ambassador level in 1975. Since the establishment of resident missions, both countries have been working to strengthen their bilateral relations for mutual benefit. Bangladesh and Thailand have excellent bilateral relations that are deeply rooted in the religious, cultural and linguistic ties between the two countries. The shared commitment to democracy, development and international peace and security has led the two countries to work closely together in many areas of common interest. (According to the Bangladesh embassy office in Thailand)
Bangladesh’s “Look East Policy” and Thailand’s “Look West Policy” could be synchronized to create new trade and economic corridors and be offered to provide coastal shipping links between the Thai port of Ranong and the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Bangladesh as a “gateway and connectivity hub” between South Asia and Southeast Asia and offered to establish coastal shipping connections between Thailand’s port of Ranong and Bangladesh’s port of Chittagong.
Myanmar is one of Bangladesh’s closest neighbors with historical connectivity that goes back centuries. The 271 km long border between Bangladesh and Myanmar is very important to Bangladesh because of its strategic location, although the area is currently militarized due to the ongoing internal conflicts. Should this be resolved, Bangladesh could develop routes via Myanmar to travel to China in the east and other Southeast Asian countries in the south.
On the other hand, Thailand is a neighboring country to Myanmar. Myanmar and Thailand can get to South Asia via Bangladesh. If Thailand joins the Bangladesh-Myanmar-Thailand-India Connectivity Project and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Connectivity Corridor, Thailand would benefit. A huge potential awaits in Thailand. If the two projects can really be implemented, Thailand will win in this regard. Bangladesh-Myanmar is urgently needed in this regard. Thailand is a very friendly country for both Myanmar and Bangladesh
Myanmar can also use Bangladesh as a transport route to reach markets such as Nepal, Bhutan and India. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar are members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), an organization consisting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, which promote regional and economic development wants cooperation. Laos can and should join BIMSTEC to reap the benefits. As a hub between Southeast Asian and South Asian countries, Thailand can use the routes to easily enter the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean via Myanmar and Bangladesh. Then it could strengthen its trade ties with South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Bangladesh is a Southeast Asian country and can be used as a major hub to ASEAN and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Members of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is difficult. As an ASEAN member, Myanmar also has access to the SAARC free trade bloc via Bangladesh. In this way, Thailand would benefit economically from strengthening its trade ties. Thailand will be able to ensure its maximum business interest. Thailand can easily access the market of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have also settled a dispute over their maritime borders through the International Court of Justice. As a result, the rights of Bangladesh were established over an area of 1,100,000 square kilometers. Myanmar’s waters have also been properly identified. Bangladesh-Myanmar-Thailand has potential to invest in the maritime economy in the Bay of Bengal. These countries should use and extract the marine resources from the marine zone. The blue economy can also benefit Bangladesh-Myanmar-Thailand.
The proposed construction of the Asian Highway, funded by the Asian Development Bank, can increase land connectivity between the two countries and increase trade in products such as fertilizers, plastics, cement and furniture, etc. Thailand should and can join the project in order to maximize its business interests.
Myanmar and Thailand, which currently have sophisticated manufacturing facilities, can import electronics and pharmaceuticals that are readily made from Bangladesh and benefit from technology transfer. Bangladesh-Myanmar-Thailand has potential for rice and fishery production. Trilateral efforts are urgently required here. Bangladeshi medicines, agricultural products, clothing, shoes and leather goods, knitwear, medicines, tableware, home textiles, textiles, seafood and seafood products, tea, potatoes, jute and jute products, light technical products, spices, cosmetics and ceramics, toilets, etc. can easily be exported to Thailand via Myanmar.
According to the Bangladeshi media, major export items from Bangladesh to Thailand include other manufactured textile items, vegetable textile fibers, clothing items, products of animal origin, electrical and electronic equipment, fish and crustaceans, medicines and chemicals, chemical products, leather and leather products, frozen fish, raw jute – and jute goods, ceramic tableware, knitwear and woven goods, tea, etc. have good prospects in the Thai market. On the other hand, Thailand’s cement, grain, plastics and goods made from them, man-made staple fibers, sugar and sugar confectionery, machinery and mechanical devices, cotton and cotton fabrics are in good demand in the Bangladeshi market.
But one of the main problems is the lack of adequate transport links to develop bilateral trade between the two countries. Both countries are working to solve this transportation problem and are in the process of joining the Asian highway network that aims to solve this problem. Bangladesh and Thailand have long been friends and are linked by the Bay of Bengal and sea routes should Bangladesh-Myanmar-Thailand intensify cooperation in trade, investment and regional connectivity.
According to the Bangladeshi media. The trilateral relations between Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand are important to ensure a high level of regional interest. Enormous growth is possible in trilateral trade between the three nations. Bangladesh will be able to create its own economic zone for Thai investors and commit to extensive support. Bangladesh and Thailand can strengthen cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, visited Thailand in 2013. Bangladesh and Thailand support each other in various international forums. The very successful visits of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in less than two years in less than two years in December 2011, February 2010 and May 2018 have also given the cooperative engagement between the two countries more dynamism.
China is the largest investor in Myanmar today. China has invested over $ 3 billion since fiscal 2016-2017. One of the most strategically important components of these investments is the $ 1.3 billion deep-sea port of Kyaukphyu, which, once completed, will provide a shortcut to the Indian Ocean in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Thailand can take some advantage of investing for its own benefit.
The country’s greatest economic advantage for Myanmar is ASEAN membership. ASEAN controls about 24 percent of total world trade and its share of world trade is growing annually. ASEAN’s trade relations with China, Japan and South Korea are deepening due to the increase in trade and the upcoming RCEP agreement. The ASEAN countries account for more than 50 percent of all trade between them and these three countries.
Bangladesh is interested in helping Myanmar. Covid-19 vaccine distribution and counter-terrorism training are some areas for collaboration. However, the Rohingya refugee problem has created tension between the two countries, and a solution can serve the longer-term interests of Bangladesh and Myanmar, even Thailand. Myanmar and Bangladesh should resolve this problem to serve their own and regional interests. Myanmar should understand that it is the problem of the region. All of South Asia and Southeast Asia can be volatile and unstable for this problem.
Thailand can play a very important role in this regard. Thailand can mediate to strengthen the strained relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Thailand can play to repatriate the Rohingyas in Rakhine, Myanmar. Thailand can easily solve the problem as it has very good relations with Myanmar. However, Thailand can support Bangladesh’s application for membership in the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Forum and the ASEAN Sectoral Partnership. Bangladesh and Thailand can work closely together in various regional forums such as BISMTEC, ACD, ARF, ASEM, OIC and AMED, as well as in multilateral forums such as the UN, WTO and ITU.
But the three countries can also increase production in the agricultural sector through joint ventures. Aside from joint investment projects, Bangladesh can increase imports of various agricultural products such as legumes, spices, fish and rice. Thus the improvement of the trilateral relations could contribute to the growth of the trade and investment relations with the ASEAN and BIMSTEC countries. This will create an opportunity to resolve the Rohingya problem and stop militant activity. Therefore, Myanmar should take effective steps to strengthen bilateral ties to connect Southeast Asia with South Asia. Thailand should and can play an effective role in motivating Myanmar to strengthen relations with Bangladesh. The advantage is waiting not only in Myanmar, but also in Thailand.
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