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Bangladesh-East Asia Relations in the Context of Bangladesh’s Look East Policy

Akkas Ahamed1, Md. Masum Sikdar2*, and Sonia Shirin3

1Dept. of Political Science, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh; 2Dept. of Political Science, University of Barisal, Barisal, Bangladesh; and 3Dept. of English, Gono Bishwabidyalay, Dhaka, Bangladesh

*Correspondence: masum.cu84@gmail.com

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'Look East' diplomacy and its foreign policy aspiration of engagement with East Asian countries is part of clear recognition of strategic and economic importance of the region to Bangladesh's national interests. Bangladesh's government is planning to implement the 65,000 kilometer road project through the Asian highway route. Bangladesh would be linked to 15 countries with the proposed road network. The Asian Highway plan was first launched in 1959 under the UN Economic, and Social Commission for South Asia, and Pacific (ESCAP). Its main purpose is to increase regional and international cooperation between Asia, and Europe via Turkey and to set transportation, infrastructural progress for the socio-economic development of many countries in the region. In order to realize Bangladesh’s potential and expedite further growth, Japan has come up with the concept of the Bay of Bengal industrial growth belt” or what Prime Minister Shinzu Abe termed “The BIG-B”. On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping narrate Bangladesh as an emerging country along the “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) project that he has been championing, which envisages deepening connectivity, constructing ports, free trade sectors, and boosting trade with littoral countries in the Indian Ocean zone, and in East Asia. In the introductory part of this paper, we will give a little summary of the concept of look east policy, the relationship between Bangladesh, and East Asia, particularly Japan and China. Political and economic relations, trade and investment, regional connectivity, infrastructural development, between Japan and Bangladesh, and China and Bangladesh have been discussed in the paper. The main purpose of this paper is to provide a basic understanding of look east policy of Bangladesh foreign policy, which is very significant in order to ensure more investment and transfer of technology to Bangladesh. 

Keywords: East Policy, Bangladesh, Relations, Context, infrastructural development, and engagement.

Citation: Ahamed A, Sikdar MM, and Shirin S. (2019). Bangladesh-East Asia Relations in the Context of Bangladesh’s Look East Policy. British J. of Arts and Humanities, 1 (4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.34104/bjah.019.0113

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