Muniruzzaman said the strategic tension between the USA and China might have an adverse effect on the stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

He noted that such significant change in the security landscape of Asia-pacific is due to the rise of new world powers and there is a historical precedence of such competition leading to militarisation.

Larry Jagan talked in detail about the rising militarisation in Myanmar after the February 2021 coup and stated that it is a more prominent security risk in Asia than the US-China rivalry over the Indian Ocean

Centre for Governance Studies organised the webinar on “Militarisation in Asia: Role of Smaller Nations” on Wednesday. The webinar focused on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and its implications for Bangladesh.

Sreeradha Datta, Centre head & senior fellow, Neighborhood Studies, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), India; Larry Jagan, former BBC World Service news editor; professor Shahab Enam Khan, Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University; and Maria Sultan, director general, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University, Pakistan, were the panelists at the event.

The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, former Bangladesh Ambassador to China and former chairman, BIISS.

The trajectory of the discussion was set to cover the recent developments in South-East Asia in regards to the formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between the USA, India, Japan, and Australia.

China is not looking for allies in the BRI project, they are looking for partners

The discussion particularly highlighted the apparent inception of Quad to counteract China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the form of joint military displays in the Indian Ocean.

Larry Jagan talked in detail about the rising militarisation in Myanmar after the February 2021 coup and stated that it is a more prominent security risk in Asia than the US-China rivalry over the Indian Ocean.

He noted that China is not looking for allies in the BRI project, they are looking for partners.

Sreeradha Datta directed attention to the economic development possibilities of Quad. Stating that in a post-covid world, issues such as vaccination and healthcare are more important than military spending.

Though it is undeniable that the inception of the Quad was to combat the rising power of China in the Indian ocean, she also reminded the audience that all the four nations in Quad have strong bilateral trade relations with China and a prospect of open conflict is currently not on anyone’s mind.

Professor Shahab Enam Khan refuted any perception that Bangladesh is just a “small state”, considering its various bona fides, from its growing economic importance, the population including diaspora influence, its record in peacekeeping, and its vital role in ensuring regional security.

He rejected the Western framework of classifying states as small, medium or big.

Maria Sultan postulated that Quad signifies a far deeper level of military cooperation than initially realised.

She stated that the goals of Quad will be determined by the commonality of threat perception among its member countries, and the threats might be both military and non-military.

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