For 50 years, the United States and Bangladesh have enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations and partnered on a wide range of security issues, including: border security, maritime security, counterterrorism, peacekeeping, defense trade, and defense institution building. The United States engages Bangladesh through several bilateral and multilateral fora, including the U.S.-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue, the U.S.-Bangladesh Security Dialogue, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Our two governments continue to work together to advance a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region.
Since 2014, the United States provided $78.45 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $14.5 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance to Bangladesh. FMF assistance includes $54.8 million in bilateral programming, and $23.6 million in Bay of Bengal Initiative Regional FMF. The Department of State’s Bay of Bengal Initiative, through support provided via FMF, seeks to enhance the capacity of civilian and military actors to detect illicit activity within their borders and in the region, build networks and habits of cooperation to enable countries to share information, develop their capacity to respond promptly to illicit activity, and support our partners in enabling a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean Region.
U.S. security assistance to Bangladesh has enhanced its maritime security, freedom of navigation, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response capabilities in support of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. These funds have provided: patrol boats for the Bangladesh Army; additional patrol vessels for the Navy and Coast Guard; mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles for international peacekeeping and border security missions; electronic and mechanical upgrades to the fast patrol boats and former U.S. Coast Guard cutters currently operated by the Bangladesh Navy; technical and professional training for Bangladesh military and Coast Guard personnel; and joint military and coast guard training and exchanges to build coordination capacity for disaster response and maritime security operations. Collectively, this support has substantially assisted Bangladesh in its efforts to enhance its maritime domain awareness and control, strengthened capacity to detect and respond to illicit activity and foreign malign intrusion in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, and secured its access to sea lanes and global commerce.
The U.S. government has $130.59 million in active government-to-government sales cases with Bangladesh under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS sales notified to Congress are listed on the DSCA website. Bangladesh also received two former U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton Class cutters via EDA in 2013 and 2015, which now serve as the two largest vessels in the Bangladesh Navy. The cutters have significantly increased Bangladesh’s capacity to provide maritime security through higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover small boats. Additionally, Bangladesh received 50 EDA MRAP vehicles in 2019 to support its peacekeepers in Mali. The U.S. Army completed refurbishment and shipped 46 MRAPS and 11 mine rollers to Bangladesh in 2021. The last four MRAPS and one mine roller are in final inspection and anticipated to be shipped to Bangladesh UN Peacekeepers deployed to Mali in May 2022. Training was completed in Bangladesh in January 2022.
In FY 2021, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $14 million in defense articles to Bangladesh via the Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) process. The top categories of DCS to Bangladesh include aircraft and related articles; firearms; military electronics; ground vehicles; and fire control, laser, imaging, and guidance equipment.
Since 2005, via the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the United States has contributed nearly $44 million to support training, equipment, and facilities upgrades to enhance Bangladesh’s peacekeeping capabilities. Bangladesh has long been a top troop and police contributing country to United Nations peacekeeping missions in Asia and Africa. Since 1988, Bangladeshi armed forces and police having participated in over 54 missions in 40 countries. Currently 6,543 personnel are deployed in 7 UN missions and at UN headquarters, including: MONUSCO, UNIFIL, UNMISS, MINARSO, MINUSMA, MINUSCA. The Navy has deployed a corvette to support UNIFIL in Lebanon and riverine vessels to UNMISS in South Sudan. The Air Force also has helicopters and fixed wing aircraft supporting MONUSCO in DR Congo. Bangladesh is also a leader in deploying female peacekeepers, with 1,803 total having participated and 251 currently deployed. Since 1999, the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) has hosted four iterations of ‘Shanti Doot,’ or ‘Ambassador of Peace,’ a multinational peacekeeping exercise with more than 1,000 participants from more than 30 countries that provides pre-deployment training to U.N. troop and police contributing countries.
Since 2010, the United States has conducted the annual multinational military exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) with Bangladesh to expand relationships and enhance maritime domain awareness. Since 2008, Bangladesh has partnered with the state of Oregon via the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, where a state’s National Guard is partners with a foreign military in order to establish a relationship that fosters cooperation and understanding.