As the Biden administration implements its new Indo-Pacific strategy, Bangladesh’s relationships with neighboring India and China are drawing renewed interest from U.S. policymakers. U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland visited Dhaka in late March and signed a draft defense cooperation agreement; last year, Special President Envoy for Climate John Kerry also went to Dhaka in advance of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate. At the same time, Washington retains concerns over democratic backsliding, human rights abuses and constraints on free and open electoral competition in the country. Experts Anu Anwar, Geoffrey Macdonald, Daniel Markey and Jumaina Siddiqui assess the factors shaping Bangladesh’s relations with its neighbors and the United States.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its sixth report on the state of the earth’s climate in early August — and it paints a dire picture. The report argues that unless governments take appropriate measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions and spur behavioral change, the world is moving toward a climate crisis of rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and more extreme weather. The report’s findings are particularly relevant in Bangladesh, where low elevation, high population density and weak infrastructure make it highly vulnerable to climate change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused one of the most serious public health and economic crises faced by India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in recent years. This report looks at the economic impact on these nations, their prospects for the remainder of 2021, and their relations with the United States. It identifies key areas of focus for ensuring the subcontinent’s recovery is equitable—which, in the context of an erosion of democratic norms, growing authoritarianism, and severe crackdown on dissent, could help avoid economic and social instability.