Peter Haas, the US ambassador to Bangladesh, said the two countries have a strikingly similar vision for the Indo-Pacific region while outlining their strategies for the regions.
"We share different, but strikingly similar, visions for the Indo-Pacific region and we can and do work together to advance those areas where our visions overlap," said Haas on Thursday while addressing an international conference on "Moving Forward in the Indo-Pacific: Bangladesh's Role in Fostering An Open, Resilient, and Interconnected Bay of Bengal and Beyond" organised by the Independent University Bangladesh.
He said one thing is clear that people and governments of the region want more, better opportunities for all their people.
The ambassador discussed five key elements of the United States' Indo-Pacific Strategy that will guide their long-term engagement in the region and the ways how Bangladesh fits in.
First, he contineud, the United States will advance a free and open Indo-Pacific which means a region where problems will be dealt with openly and rules will be reached transparently and applied fairly.
Individual countries will be able to choose their own path and their own partners, he added.
"Russia's brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a wake-up call to the world. These ideals cannot be taken for granted, rather they must be defended," he said adding: "The goal of defending these ideals is not to keep any country down. Rather, it's to protect the right of all countries to choose their own path, free from coercion, free from intimidation."
Peter Haas said Bangladesh has made important contributions to this cause.
By committing to the peaceful resolution of its land and maritime border disputes, Bangladesh has made the Bay of Bengal an example for the world to follow, he mentioned as example.
He said the United States will work with Bangladesh and other partners to ensure the region's seas and skies are governed and used according to international law.
"We will also seek to advance common approaches to critical and emerging technologies, the internet, and cyberspace, that protect privacy and human dignity," the US ambassador added.
Second, he said, "We will continue to forge stronger connections within and beyond the region. We must work together as a community to tackle our shared problems."
He said Bangladesh is a committed leader to regional cooperation, as host to the BIMSTEC Secretariat, as chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and as an active member of SAARC, the Colombo Plan, and more.
The US ambassador said, "Bangladesh also knows the importance of helping neighbors, like through providing Covid-19 assistance to the Maldives, or supporting Sri Lanka last year with a currency swap at the height of its cash crisis.
"As Ambassador, I am committed to building our bilateral partnership to tackle shared challenges together. Our ties do not just connect our governments but bridge our people. We're deepening ties between our people through educational and exchange opportunities."
Third, Peter said, "We will promote broad-based prosperity, so that no one gets left behind in the 21st century."
He said Bangladesh's strong economic growth and entrepreneurial spirit drive the Indo-Pacific economy forward. As Bangladesh diversifies its industrial base, regional supply chains will become more resilient.
And as labor rights and worker safety reforms take hold, the benefits of this growth will be shared more broadly, he upined.
The United States is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Bangladesh. As Ambassador, I commit to work with Bangladesh to build an attractive investment environment and support US investors to enter new sectors for the benefit of all our people.
At President Biden's direction, we are developing a comprehensive Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which will include shared objectives in key areas: climate and clean energy, fair trade facilitation, resilient supply chains, and the digital economy.
I look forward to working on these issues with the people and the Government Bangladesh in the coming months.
Fourth, he said, "we will bolster Indo-Pacific security."
Threats are evolving. Our security approach must evolve with them.
We will seek closer security cooperation with partners to tackle challenges ranging from violent extremism to illegal fishing to human trafficking.
The United States is proud to partner with Bangladesh on these challenges and more.
For instance, last year, we provided 10 Metal Shark Boats and 10 Defender Class Boats to the Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard.
These vessels will support Bangladesh's ability to secure its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, counter trafficking of all types, and remain a bulwark against piracy in the Bay of Bengal.
Finally, Peter Haas said, "We will help build regional resilience to transnational threats.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis underscore the urgency of this task.
Bangladesh has been a leader on both fronts.
By vaccinating over 70 percent of the population with the first dose and counting, Bangladesh is safeguarding its own people and the world from the pandemic.
The United States has sent more than 180 million safe, effective vaccine doses to the Indo-Pacific, including 61 million to Bangladesh alone – more doses than we have donated to any country in the world.
Bangladesh's leadership of the Climate Vulnerable Forum has sent a powerful message to the world: we need a truly global commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including from all major emitters.
On climate, we have mobilized billions of dollars in clean energy, clean air, and climate resilience projects throughout the region. And President Biden has pledged to quadruple US climate assistance to $11.4 billion annually by 2024.
Last year, we launched a $17 million flagship clean energy project in Bangladesh that will help pave the way to building affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy systems.