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Bangladesh Myanmar Bilateral Relations

Bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar are deeply rooted in geographical proximity and shared history, spanning over many centuries and commonalities in our cultures and values. Both the neighbours have a long history of political, cultural and economic engagement predating their emergence as modern nation states. Historical linkage and similarities in developmental aspirations require both the neighbous to cooperate for mutual benefit.

Since Independence, Bangladesh has been working to deepen the relationship with Myanmar and to create space for greater cooperation. Both our countries can benefit from collaboration in areas of common developmental challenges. Bangladesh sees strong merit in sectoral collaboration for mutual benefit of the two peoples. There are ample opportunities of cooperation between the two countries in the areas like trade, road and shipping connectivity, energy, agriculture, disaster risk reduction, climate change, and many other sectors. Both the countries are exploring ways to materialize full potential of the bilateral cooperation.

Bangladesh and Myanmar together make bridge between South Asia and South East Asia. Bangladesh is moving towards developing a closer formal relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Myanmar is a member. Bangladesh and Myanmar are the founding members of the sub-regional grouping called Bay of Bengal initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Bangladesh wishes to work closely with Myanmar in regional forums like BIMSTEC and BCIM.

Major bilateral bodies for regular consultation and steering bilateral relations:

  • Joint Commission at the level of Foreign Minister
  • Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) at the level of Foreign Secretary
  • Joint Trade Commission at the level of Commerce Secretary

Bangladesh and Myanmar share 207.20 km of land boundary, 68.20 km Naaf River boundary and maritime boundary comprising 22.22 km (12 NM) territorial sea and 370.40 km (200 NM) EEZ. Both land and river boundary are fully demarcated through signing of several bilateral agreements. The issue of maritime boundary delimitation was settled through the verdict of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered on 14 March 2012. 

There are arrangements for Border Guards of Bangladesh and Myanmar to meet each other on a regular basis at different levels to address various border related issues. Regular consultations are being held between Heads of two Border Guard Forces. Head (Director General) of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) visited Myanmar several times to attend meetings on Border Security and Law Enforcement Cooperation. These visit have been reciprocated by the Head of Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar. To enhance understanding and cooperation and infuse greater trust between the two Border Guard forces, a Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) on establishing Border Liaison Offices (BLO)” was concluded.

Armed Forces of Bangladesh and Myanmar have a longstanding tradition of contact, consultation and cooperation. Existing cooperation between the two Armed Forces include exchange of visits of senior officials, goodwill visits of navy ships, exchange of training and disaster relief operation.

Since 2011, 03 (three) Chiefs of Army Staff of Bangladesh visited Myanmar. Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh also visited Myanm,ar. Former Principal Staff Officer (PSO), Armed Forces Division (AFD) also visited Myanmar. Successive Chiefs (Director General) of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) visited Myanmar.

From Myanmar side, Lt Gen Soe Win, Commander in Chief (Army), Admiral Thura Thet Swe, reciprocated the goodwill by visiting Bangladesh. Myanmar Commander in Chief (Air) General Khin Aung Myint, visited Bangladesh  in November 2016.

Since 2017, Bangladesh Army and Myanmar Army have been maintaining consultations through another mechanism: Army to Army Staff Talk. So far two rounds of Army to Army Staff Talk took place in 2017 and 2019.

Naval Forces of both the countries have been holding Navy to Navy Staff Talk. So far 04 (four) rounds of talks have taken place. 

Bangladesh and Myanmar concluded a MoU on "Security Dialogue and Cooperation"  This mechanism stipulates structured dialogue among all entities working in the security domain, particularly among all Defence forces and security agencies of the two countries.

Bangladesh Armed Forces offer number of training courses to Myanmar Defence Services. The courses include training in the Military Academy (BMA), Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC), National Defence Course (NDC) and various other Training Institutions. These courses are offered to enhance  relationship between Bangladesh Defence Forces and Myanmar Defence Forces.