Bangladesh Table of Contents
Bangladesh has enjoyed good relations with the other small nations of South Asia--Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives--and those of Southeast Asia, except for Vietnam. Bangladesh has made strenuous efforts to extend cooperation with these nations through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC--see Glossary) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (see International Organizations , this ch.).
Burma is the only nation besides India that shares a border with Bangladesh. Relations between the two countries have generally been cordial, but relations deteriorated in 1978 and 1979 when 150,000 Bengali-descent Muslims flooded into Bangladesh from Burma. This exodus was the result of Burmese attempts to combat Muslim guerrillas fighting for an independent homeland, and it brought to light anti-Bengali feelings in western Burma. Intervention by the UN and the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Dhaka led to a negotiated repatriation of the refugees and the reestablishment of good relations. Later talks led to the demarcation of the land boundary between the two countries. Bangladesh and Burma settled their maritime boundary during a 1986 visit by the Burmese president.
Data as of September 1988