Human security precedes narrow national interests
Army Chief Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan yesterday said rising concerns for human security were often obligating them to think beyond their usual and narrowly focused concerns over national security.
“We are now facing the kind of threats that transcend the geographical border. Famine, diseases, natural disasters, illegal drug cartels, child and woman traffickers, trans-national terrorist organisations, and the likes do not respect national borders. They affect all of us,” he said.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the four-day 38th Pacific Armies Management Seminar with the theme, “A new focus on the Asia-Pacific region: Opportunities and challenges for land forces”, at Radisson hotel in the capital.
The seminar was co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and the US Army Pacific.
Gen Iqbal said non-traditional security threats like trans-national crimes, environmental disasters, and depleting natural resources were gaining momentum in the security discourse.
“Today all nations, weak and strong, rich and poor, and developing and developed, are facing these common enemies, and of course no single nation has the unique capacity to deal with all these threats,” he said.
Senior army and security officials of around 25 countries of Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions joined the programme.
Gen Vincent Keith Brooks, the commanding general of the US Army Pacific, said, “We should work together to address common threats that confront us--international terrorism and violent extremism, cyber crime, infectious diseases, environmental changes that threaten the safety of human beings.”
He said, “More than ever before, our nations and our interests are connected, overlapped and related... Each of our nations has a stake in the security and stability of the Asia Pacific and should welcome close partnerships that enable us to achieve enduring outcomes.”
Later, Gen Brooks called on Lt Gen Mohammad Mainul Islam, the Bangladesh Army chief of general staff.
The two generals also held a press conference at the hotel, where Lt Gen Mainul said, “We expect to develop our military to military cooperation further with the US Army Pacific for more joint training in a progressive way based on joint planning and mutual understanding.”
He also recalled the US Army Pacific's post-disaster contributions, particularly after cyclones Sidr and Aila, in Bangladesh.
Gen Brooks said, “Our military partnership with Bangladesh is strong and getting stronger.”