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The sudden disclosure of the USSecretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Dhaka on May 5 has given rise to some speculations because no detail ofher programme in Dhaka was made public.
Her stop over to Dhaka, on wayfrom China to India has surely come as a gesture of good will amidst somerecent misunderstandings between the two countries, experts say.
Some experts tried to explain thevisit from different context yesterday in absence of any formal disclosure on her visit fromBangladesh Foreign Ministry or the US embassy in Dhaka until this evening.
Some of them said she may bepresent at the signing of a much awaited US-Bangladesh agreement on Trade andInvestment Cooperation Agreement. The agreement aims at creating a joint forumfor policy discussions on vital trade and investment related issues tofacilitate closer involvement of US companies in Bangladesh. Similarly, it may open the way to greatertrade access to Bangladesh products in the US market, they said.
This is one aspect that analystssay to have encouraged the Secretary of State to take up this visit to Dhaka;after three and a half year of this government in office. But others say theremay be more sensitive issues that may have prompted the visit.
They said trade facilitationagreement could be signed by a lower ranking official of the US StateDepartment. The Secretary does not sign such an agreement. Another analyst sayregional security issues and US agenda on anti-terrorism may be gaining newdimension and Hillary Clinton may be taking advantage of her programme in theregion to exchange views with Bangladesh leadership on them.
Specially, the security ofBangladesh waters in the Bay of Bengal may be one of the significant issues fordiscussion following the resent settlement of maritime boundary disputes withMyanmar, said former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mahbubur Rahman.
He said the US government hadearlier proposed to offer naval support to protecting the Bangladesh waterzones where important gas blocks are waiting for lease or have already beenleased out, and waiting explorations. Some US companies are also vying forthem.
The US presence in Bangladeshwaters close to Myanmar may also allow its closer monitoring on Myanmar side ofthe sea and mainland at a time the country is opening to the West throughinternal political reforms.
Myanmar's opening up ismeanwhile, bringing new challenge to Chinese influence over the country andWashington may be up to developing new windows from around to influencedevelopments inside Myanmar.
Her visit may even addsignificant inputs to Bangladesh domestic politics. It is obvious, Prof ImtiazAhmed of the Department of International Relations of Dhaka University saidyesterday pointing to growing political stalemate between the government andthe opposition when the forthcoming election is only drawing closer. The recentabduction of BNP leader Elias Ali, pushing the country towards greaterdestabilization may also flash out in discussion.
The US ambassador Den W Mozenamet BNP chairperson few days ago and held
talks with her for about 45minutes in a closed door meeting with only few advisers on her side. Ondeparture the ambassador declined to talk to the waiting press. The BNPchairperson's office has also remained silent on what came up for discussion.Knowledgeable sources however said he might have informed her of the comingvisit and very crucial issues including the missing of the party organisingsecretary and the care taker government issues would have surely dominated thediscussion.
The growing number of missingpersons in Bangladesh has already become a global issue as the US and the UKgovernment have urged the government to take quick action to find out him.
The EU and New York based HumanRights Watch have also demanded independent probe into the incidence of missingpeople including Elias Ali.
Hillary may also request thegovernment to facilitate appointment of a suitable person to the post of themanaging director of Grameen Bank and allow its subsidiaries to functionuninterrupted.
She has intervened into thematter several times in the past from the side of the US administration andduring face to face meeting with Bangladesh government leaders she may take theissue once again, analysts say.