Following Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971, friendly U.S.-Bangladesh relations developed quickly. This is the first visit by a U.S. President.
Bangladesh is a moderate Muslim democracy where the U.S. enjoys high prestige and respect. Many Bangladeshis regard the U.S. as the global champion of freedom and democracy. Our support of Muslim Bosnia and Kosovo won plaudits from Bangladeshis.
The U.S. is Bangladesh’s largest single trading partner and one of its largest foreign investors, with current investment of about $750 million.
A centerpiece of our bilateral relationship is a large U.S. economic aid program. U.S. economic and food aid – which began as emergency relief following the 1971 war for independence – concentrates on long-term development. Objectives of U.S. assistance include stabilizing population growth, protecting health, encouraging broad-based economic growth, and building democracy.
The U.S. appreciates Bangladesh’s moderating role in international fora like the G-77, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the OIC. Bangladesh currently occupies the presidency of the United Nations Security Council.
Our two countries’ militaries have shared a warm and mutually beneficial relationship. Bangladesh supported the U.S. during Desert Shield and provided troops for the coalition during that conflict.
Bangladeshi and U.S. troops worked side by side when a U.S. naval task force provided assistance after a disastrous April 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh. The relief efforts of the U.S. Marines and Sailors are credited with having saved as many as 200,000 lives.
Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors of forces to international peacekeeping operations. Its personnel served with U.S. forces in Somalia, and in the 1994 multinational force in Haiti. The U.S. financially assists Bangladesh’s peacekeeping training center.
The Peace Corps began its program in Bangladesh in November 1998 with 24 volunteers. In February 2000, 34 new volunteers arrived. The volunteers help primary school teachers improve their own English-language skills so that they can teach more effectively.