The United States wants to deepen its ties across South Asia, particularly with Bangladesh and India, as it sees real potential to have stronger relations.
"We are at a moment of real potential in the opportunity to deepen our relations across South Asia, but with these two partners in particular – India and Bangladesh," US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said.
Biegun, who recently concluded a three-day trip to Dhaka, remarked admirably about his experience in a special telephone briefing by the State Department held on 20 October.
He visited Bangladesh on 14-16 October following a tour of New Delhi, India.
Biegun said while he had visited India numerous times, it was his maiden visit to Bangladesh which left him "quite optimistic about the state of US-Bangladesh relations."
In particular, the second most senior diplomat of the United States thanked Bangladesh for its quick production and delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to his country, especially "before we ourselves really could get our feet underneath ourselves to produce" protective equipment for medical professionals.
In late May, Beximco Textiles exported at least 6.5 million PPE gowns to the US after receiving an expression of interest from the American side two months earlier.
Biegun during the telephone press briefing also thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for hosting the Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh in the face of atrocities in Myanmar.
In addition, he noted his discussion with the prime minister and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen about potential scopes for cooperation between the two countries to find a resolution to the Rohingya crisis.
"A long-term refugee population is not an option," he said, recognising Bangladesh's concerns that a long-term funding for refugees, as the upcoming US-supported donor summit is expected to explore, would help perpetuate the crisis in Bangladesh.
"We are going to work with equal urgency both to address the humanitarian needs of this population but also to find a lasting resolution," he added.
Biegun's tour of Dhaka was preceded with a virtual meeting between US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach and Bangladesh prime minister's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman.
"I met Salman, an incredibly impressive and successful private sector figure in Bangladesh," Biegun said at the briefing.
"The secretary of state has appointed our Under Secretary for International Economics Keith Krach to be the counterpart to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Advisor for Private Industry and Investment Salman F Rahman. Together, they have developed a roadmap for execution of economic cooperation that I think is going to yield real dividends for deepening US-Bangladeshi economic relations," he added.