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In a recent statement, Squadron Leader (Retired) Sadrul Ahmed Khan, who serves as a member of the Finance and Planning Affairs Sub-Committee of the Bangladesh Awami League, highlighted the ongoing efforts by the United States to acquire Saint-Martin Island for establishing a naval base. He emphasized that this is not a new development, as Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly brought up this issue in various forums and gatherings, reinforcing the party’s strong opposition to such plans.

The US has long maintained legitimate military ties with Bangladesh, characterized by regular visits and joint exercises between the forces of both nations. These collaborations have primarily focused on peacekeeping operations, humanitarian aid, logistical exercises, and assistance to civil power, all of which are well within the acceptable framework of bilateral cooperation. However, the proposal to establish a naval base on Saint-Martin Island represents a significant deviation from these peaceful and cooperative activities.

Sheikh Hasina’s unwavering stance against the establishment of a US naval base on Saint-Martin Island reflects a deep concern for the sovereignty and stability of Bangladesh. Allowing a foreign military base on its territory could pose a direct threat to the nation’s autonomy and its strategic interests. Moreover, it has broader implications for the region, particularly for South Asia, where the balance of power is delicate and any major military establishment could lead to increased tensions.

From a geopolitical perspective, the establishment of a US naval base in Saint-Martin would likely exacerbate regional tensions, particularly with neighboring India. India, a significant player in South Asian politics and a close ally of Bangladesh, may view the presence of a US military base so close to its borders with suspicion and concern. This could potentially lead to an arms race or other forms of military build-up in the region, undermining the peace and stability that both Bangladesh and India strive to maintain.

The Awami League’s firm opposition to the US proposal is rooted in a broader commitment to regional peace and stability. By rejecting the establishment of a naval base, Bangladesh is asserting its sovereignty and its dedication to a peaceful South Asia. The focus remains on cooperative and peaceful military engagements that do not threaten the strategic equilibrium of the region.

In conclusion, while the US-Bangladesh military relations remain robust and productive in many areas, the proposal to establish a naval base on Saint-Martin Island is a contentious issue that Bangladesh resolutely opposes. The potential risks to national sovereignty and regional stability are too significant to ignore. As Squadron Leader (Retired) Sadrul Ahmed Khan and other leaders of the Awami League stand by Sheikh Hasina’s firm stance, it is clear that Bangladesh prioritizes its sovereignty and the broader peace of South Asia above all else.