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Bangladesh–Myanmar relations

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Bangladesh–Myanmar relations
Map indicating locations of Bangladesh and Myanmar



The Bangladesh–Myanmar relations refers to the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The relationship between these two neighbouring countries is generally frosty under the Burmese military junta, and as a result of the presence of over 270,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The civil society and political class of Bangladesh often voiced solidarity for Myanmar's pro-democracy struggle. However, relations between the two nations soured as a result of Rohingya genocide which resulted in the influx of over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh.[1] Despite being neighbouring countries, very little trade exists among these countries.


In May 1979, Burmese President Ne Win visited Bangladesh. During his visit, on May 23, a demarcation agreement between the two countries was signed.[2]

Operation Clean and Beautiful Nation was a military operation conducted by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) in northern Rakhine State, near Myanmar's border with Bangladesh in 1991. In December 1991, Tatmadaw soldiers crossed the border and accidentally fired on a Bangladeshi military outpost, resulting in Bangladesh Army aiding Rohingya Solidarity Organisation as retaliation. The conflict ended in Burmese tactical failure.[3][4][5]

On 7 October 1998, between three and five Bangladeshi fishermen were killed by Burmese Navy forces just off the coast of St. Martin's Island.[6] On 8 September 1999, one Bangladeshi fisherman was shot and killed by Burmese Navy forces near St. Martin's Island. Nine crewmen from the victim's fishing boat abandoned it, swam for their lives, and were rescued by Bangladeshi forces. The Bangladeshi government lodged a formal protest note to Myanmar.[7] On 20 August 2000, the Bangladeshi police reported that Burmese border guards had shot and killed four Bangladeshi fishermen off the coast of St. Martin's Island.[8]

The November 2008 Bangladesh–Myanmar naval standoff caused the relations between two countries deteriorate, as Myanmar allowed the South Korean company Daewoo to explore the seabed in an area southwest of St. Martin's Island, the area that was contested between Bangladesh and Myanmar as part of their respective exclusive economic zones.[9] Myanmar deployed two naval warships to protect its assets. Citing international law, Bangladesh asserted that Myanmar should not allow any kind of activities in disputed territories until a resolution. After Bangladeshi requests were not heeded, the Bangladesh Navy deployed three warships in the area; the BNS Abu Bakr, BNS Madhumati and BNS Nirbhoy and Bangladesh Air Force deployed Mig 29. As a result, Myanmar withdrew its warships and Daewoo began to remove its equipment from the area. In 2012, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea granted the disputed area to Bangladesh, resulting in both tactical and strategic victory for Bangladesh.[10][11][12]

In December 2016, the Bangladeshi border guard accused the Myanmar Navy of firing on four Bangladeshi fishermen in the Bay of Bengal, leading to a formal protest.[13]

On 6 October 2018, the government of Myanmar updated its 2015–2018 map of Myanmar Information Management Unit showing St. Martin's Island as a part of their sovereign territory and spread the maps in two global websites. Following the event, the Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka was summoned by the Government of Bangladesh on 6 October 2018. Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, maritime affairs secretary at the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over a strongly worded protest note to him. The Myanmar envoy said it was a "mistake" to show the St. Martin's Island as part of his country's territory.[14]

In the first week of September 2020, Bangladeshi forces reported that the Tatmadaw started amassing troops and doing unusual buildups in three different locations on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. As a consequence, Bangladesh's foreign minister summoned Myanmar's ambassador, calling for him to desist from such activities and to work for mutually beneficial relations between the two countries. At the time, Bangladesh was concerned about these suspicious actions due to this same kind of buildup resulting in the displacement of nearly a million Rohingya from their homelands to Bangladesh in 2017.[15] As a result, Bangladesh revealed that is ready to face any situation, deploying the 34 Border Guards Bangladesh battalion on the border with Myanmar. This battalion asked their counterparts to arrange a flag meeting but they received no response.[16]

Aung Kyaw Moe, the ambassador of Myanmar to Bangladesh, was summoned by the Bangladesh ministry of foreign affairs four times in 2022 due to Myanmar Army's violation of Bangladesh's airspace in the Naikhongchhari bordering area multiple times.[17]

In early February 2024, over 300 Myanmar Border Guard Police personnel illegally crossed the Bangladesh–Myanmar border, leading to a tense situation where they were disarmed and interned by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB). This incident is part of a continuing pattern of violations by Myanmar, including unauthorized military incursions and attacks on Bangladeshi territory, which contravene international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Bangladesh has maintained its neutrality and adherence to international law amidst Myanmar's ongoing civil conflict, highlighting the challenges in bilateral relations and the broader regional stability concerns.[18] On 24 February 2024, Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion Director General M Khurshid Hossain claimed that Myanmar wanted to engage in a war with his country.[19]

See also


  1. ^ "Background Note: Bangladesh". Background notes. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  2. ^ Mahbubur Rahman, Muhammad (July 2011). BCS Bangladesh Affairs (in Bengali). Vol. I & II. Lion Muhammad Gias Uddin. p. 94 (Vol. II).
  3. ^ "Bangladesh: The Plight of the Rohingya". Pulitzer Center. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Understanding and responding to the Rohingya crisis". ReliefWeb. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ Hodal, Kate (20 December 2012). "Trapped inside Burma's refugee camps, the Rohingya people call for recognition". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  6. ^ Myanmar Guards Kill Two Bangladeshis, 8 October 1998, Reuters
  7. ^ Myanmar border guards kill Bangladeshi fisherman, 8 September 1999, Reuters
  8. ^ Reuters, 20 August 2000
  9. ^ "Bangladesh-Myanmar in standoff". Al Jazeera English. 2008-11-09. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  10. ^ Randeep Ramesh. "Bangladesh and Burma send warships into Bay of Bengal | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  11. ^ Sea border issue fails to grab govt focus. "Myanmar brings warships to explore Bangladesh waters". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  12. ^ "Dhaka refuses to retreat, Myanmar withdraws two navy ships". Outlook. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  13. ^ Lee, Yimou (28 December 2016). Pitchford, Ruth (ed.). "Bangladesh border guard protests after Myanmar navy fires at its fishing boat". Reuters. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. At least four Bangladeshi fisherman were injured, two senior officers with the border guard told Reuters. "The fishermen, fishing within Bangladesh's body of water on the Bay of Bengal Cherrha Dwip, were shot by a Myanmar navy vessel," said Mohammad Saiful Absar, contingent commander of Bangladeshi border guard in St Martin. He said the shooting happened on Tuesday morning.... Bangladesh's border guard filed a protest letter on Wednesday to its Myanmar counterparts, said AbuZar Al Jahid, lieutenant colonel of Bangladeshi border guard in Teknaf.
  14. ^ Md. Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan (16 October 2018). "Legal implication of Myanmar's claim over St. Martin". The Daily Star. Bangladesh. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  15. ^ Aparajita Banerjee (13 September 2020). "Myanmar deploys Army troops on Bangladesh border". The Bangladesh Defence Analyst. Bangladesh. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  16. ^ Aparajta Banerjee (15 September 2020). "Bangladesh prepared to face any situation against Myanmar". The Bangladesh Defence Analyst. Bangladesh. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Another chapter in Bangladesh-Myanmar relations". Retrieved 2022-10-03.
  18. ^ "Crisis at the Bangladesh-Myanmar Border: A Looming Regional Challenge". Retrieved 2024-02-08.
  19. ^ "'বাংলাদেশের সাথে যুদ্ধ করতে চাচ্ছে মিয়ানমার'" ['Myanmar wants to fight with Bangladesh']. YouTube (in Bengali). Somoy TV. 24 February 2024. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
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Bangladesh–Myanmar relations
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