National security advisors from seven countries around the Bay of Bengal will meet today in Dhaka to discuss combatting regional threats.
Together, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal make up BIMSTEC—a 20-year old organisation that accounts for more than a fifth of the world’s population. Although substantial cooperation has alluded the body in the past, rising threats have renewed hope for stronger ties.
Today’s summit will primarily address how the countries can implement common counterterror legislation towards reducing religious extremism. Likely to cast its shadow is the Rohingya crises in which over half a million Muslims have been displaced from their homes in Myanmar. The country has justified its persecution by accusing some Rohingya of being terrorists.
Although BIMSTEC has recently found common ground, the mass migration of the Rohingya represents a substantial threat to further cooperation within the organisation due to its burden on Bangladesh and Thailand. Expect disagreements to potentially jeopardise India’s “Look East” policy, while also causing roadblocks in ongoing free trade negotiations.
Delve deeper: The Rohingya refugee crisis: ethnic cleansing in Myanmar
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Taylor provides insight into trade and technology, with a particular focus on North America and the Asia Pacific. He also serves as a copy editor on The Daily Brief.