Why does US think tank foresee smooth sailing for PM’s leadership?


Published on May 3, 2024
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership in guiding Bangladesh's development has taken a significant step forward as US officials have acknowledged the new administration following the general elections, indicating a potential period of cooperation and stability. The recognition of this significant advancement by the US think-tank The Atlantic Council highlights a critical juncture in Bangladesh's political environment, which has the potential to bring about a phase of more efficient government and more international collaboration.

An article penned by Gautam Lahiri, President of the Press Club of India and an impartial foreign observer in Bangladesh's 2024 general elections, highlights the significance of the assurances provided by US authorities amid ongoing discussions on the fairness of the voting process. Although the US State Department has raised concerns about the validity of the elections, the acknowledgement of the new administration and the pledge to work together indicate a notable change in diplomatic ties.

The support from the United States holds significance not just in terms of diplomatic legitimacy but also in terms of economic collaboration and geopolitical alliances. Bangladesh has the potential to gain advantages from strengthened bilateral relations, which might create opportunities for commerce, investment, and the exchange of technology. Furthermore, this acknowledgement enhances the trust and assurance of foreign investors and stakeholders, strengthening Bangladesh's standing on the international platform as a dependable and feasible collaborator for advancement.

The leadership acumen of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been crucial in guiding Bangladesh through different obstacles and opportunities. Her vision for inclusive growth, along with practical policy implementation, has received recognition both at home and abroad. The acknowledgement from US authorities is evidence of her administration's dedication to democratic principles and improvements in governance.

Although the election process in Bangladesh has flaws, it is crucial to understand the larger framework in which the country functions. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hasina, the country has made remarkable progress in socioeconomic development, particularly in the areas of poverty alleviation, education, and healthcare. Expanding on this progress, the acknowledgement from the United States provides a renewed drive for Bangladesh to persist in its pursuit of prosperity and security.

Moreover, the cooperative strategy promoted by US authorities is in line with Bangladesh's desire for involvement at both regional and global levels. Bangladesh, as a participant in several international forums and organizations, aims to make valuable contributions to global affairs while also protecting its national interests. The United States support strengthens Bangladesh's position as a conscientious participant in the global community, capable of effectively tackling worldwide issues via collaboration with like-minded countries.

In addition to diplomacy, the acknowledgement from the United States carries symbolic importance for Bangladesh's democratic institutions and procedures. This highlights the significance of openness, accountability, and inclusion in governance, which are crucial foundations for maintaining democratic principles and institutions. The United States expresses its dedication to cooperating with the new administration, conveying its endorsement of Bangladesh's democratic process and supporting further advancements towards democratic consolidation.

The endorsement of the new government by US officials has inflicted a substantial setback on opposition groupings, which had relied on ongoing backing from foreign players, notably the US administration, beyond the election. The opposition's expectation of a lack of cooperation from these groups towards the current administration has been met with disappointment, placing them in a vulnerable position within the country's political scene. In addition, the choice made by the central leadership of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) to refrain from participating in the Upazila Parishad election is consistent with their prior approach, but it also poses a potential threat to the party's organizational framework, perhaps making it even weaker. This action is expected to strengthen the governing party's control over local government institutions, further worsening the difficulties faced by the opposition in reclaiming political power.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to acknowledge that diplomatic recognition alone does not include all the obstacles confronting Bangladesh. The future path may still be filled with challenges, such as socioeconomic inequalities, problems with government, and geopolitical intricacies. Solving these difficulties will need collaborative endeavors from all parties involved, such as the government, civic society, and the international community.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's leadership in Bangladesh has been greatly enhanced by the acknowledgement from US authorities and their commitment to cooperation. This development not only confirms the legitimacy of Bangladesh's democratic process but also creates opportunities for further bilateral collaboration and international involvement. As Bangladesh embarks on its path towards economic and political success, the assistance from the United States acts as a symbol of optimism and motivation, indicating a fresh phase in Bangladesh's pursuit of advancement and affluence.

Writer: Dr Pranab Kumar Panday, Professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.