US, Bangladesh relations falling out over violations of free and fair elections

Relations between the United States and Bangladesh are strained due to concerns over violations of free and fair elections, according to reliable sources.

The US is critical of the Awami League for not allowing the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to participate in the elections, which they see as a breach of democratic norms.

The US is urging Bangladesh to ensure that the upcoming general elections, scheduled for January 2024, are free from manipulation and misconduct. One of the factors contributing to the strained relationship is the Awami League’s refusal to let BNP leader Khalida Zia travel abroad for medical treatment, despite her request.

The Awami League downplayed the seriousness of her condition, but the BNP has used this incident to portray a negative image of the ruling party. The BNP has also criticized the Awami League for implementing policies that favor their own values while neglecting those of the BNP. BNP representatives abroad have been engaging with foreign politicians to highlight these issues.

The US’s concern about promoting free and fair elections may be influenced by a larger strategic objective of preventing India from gaining significant influence in Bangladesh while the Awami League remains in power. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the Awami League, has been seen as a Western ally due to her business-friendly policies and opposition to radical Islamism.

She has maintained close ties with India, while China has also invested heavily in infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. The deterioration of US-Bangladesh relations in recent years is partly due to allegations of human rights violations, including sanctions imposed by the US on Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in December 2021. (Source: ANI)

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