US to assist Bangladesh with maritime patrols

February 8th, 2009 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaDhaka, Feb 8 (DPA) The US plans to help Bangladesh protect mineral-rich waters it claims in the Bay of Bengal through maritime patrolling, a senior US official said Sunday.
“I think there is some interest in maritime patrols to protect your sea areas better. There are some areas where we can help …,” Richard A Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, told a press conference.

Wrapping up a two-day visit to Bangladesh, the US official said the modalities of the proposed cooperation in maritime patrols depends on Bangladesh’s requirements and US ability to meet them.

Boucher said his talks explored areas of cooperation between the new governments in Dhaka and Washington headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and President Barack Obama.

The US official identified new areas like climate change, agriculture and healthcare of cooperation and assured continuation of US support for Bangladesh.

The issue of cooperation in marine patrols came to the backdrop of a row over oil and gas exploration between Myanmar and Bangladesh in waters claimed by Dhaka in the Bay of Bengal.

Both Bangladesh and Myanmar have deployed warships in the Bay of Bengal to establish their claims. Diplomatic efforts by Bangladesh’s then military-backed government of Fakhruddin Ahmed, involving China and South Korea, apparently put to an end the row.

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