Bangladesh is closely monitoring the national election in Myanmar to be held today with a hope that there would be more engagement with the Myanmar policymakers to improve bilateral relation with Dhaka.

This is the first election under civilian government, introduced in 2011, and a total of 1,171 representatives will be elected, some to parliament and some to state and region.

“Election is their internal affairs. Whoever wins the election, Bangladesh will increase its engagement with the country,” Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune.

“We enjoy very good relations and we want to keep it move forward,” he said.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have engagement to improve connectivity through BCIM initiative, enhance energy cooperation, resolve Rohingya crisis, boost cooperation in trade, agriculture and defence, and border management.

Bangladesh and Myanmar also amicably resolved their maritime boundary dispute through an international court in 2012.

Myanmar is one of the two countries with which Bangladesh shares border.

A senior government official, seeking anonymity, said Bangladesh wants to improve bilateral relationship and also resolve the Rohingya crisis, a thorny issue continued for decades.

“But, it will take time,” he said.

If the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party wins the election, the government policy is unlikely to see any change, the official said.

“If the opposition National League for Democracy party led by Aung San Suu Kyi wins the election, there is a possibility of shifting of policy in the future,” he said.

About the Rohingya plight, he said in the general election, Rohingyas have no voting right as they were excluded in the census conducted by the authorities recently.

Suu Kyi, though a strong voice for democracy, did not speak anything about the issue.

“It seems that there is no synchronized Rohingya policy,” the official said.

He, however, said the positive attitude towards Rohingya would not happen overnight due to internal political dynamics of the country.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said Bangladesh and Myanmar are the parties to BCIM initiative, which is aimed at boosting regional trade and connectivity.

“If the BCIM initiative is materialized, it would be a great platform to improve relationship between the countries,” he said.

About energy cooperation, he said Myanmar is cautiously considering Bangladesh’s proposal to develop hydroelectricity project to supply power to Bangladesh.

There are 224 representatives in the upper house of Parliament and out of that, 168 will be elected in the upcoming elections and 56 members would be appointed by the commander-in-chief of the Defense Services.

There are 440 representatives in the lower house of p[parliament and 330 will be elected and 110 would be appointed by the commander-in-chief.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/banglade....QulLrCcz.dpuf