This article argues it is in Australia’s national security interest to start developing closer ties with Bangladesh.


Governments are constantly reassessing their national security strategies. Australia’s 2020 defence strategic update identified the northeast Indian Ocean as a high priority for Australia while pointing out that that is where our security relationships are least developed. A new report by the National Security College examines Australia’s interests in the Indian Ocean region and recommends, among other things, that Australia improves its security relationship with Bangladesh.

The June 2021 report recommends that Australia should do the following:

  • Appoint a Defence Advisor on the ground in Bangladesh.
  • Build relationships with the Bangladesh military through military education opportunities and targeted exchanges.
  • The Australian Navy should visit Bangladesh.
  • Help to build Bangladesh’s maritime capacity.

David Brewster, the author of both the report and this ASPI article, notes that Australia has rightly concentrated on India as a significant South Asian partner. However, he argues it is also strategically important to begin developing good relationships with other countries in the region, such as Bangladesh.