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International relations

US uses defense diplomacy to woo Bangladesh away from China

Washington sees Dhaka as an 'emerging' ally in its Indo-Pacific strategy

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received a call from the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper earlier this month, offering to help the South Asian country modernize its military by 2030. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Akira Kodaka and Reuters)

DHAKA -- The U.S. has stepped up efforts to entice Bangladesh into buying more of its military hardware in recent weeks, as it hopes to win over an "emerging" ally in South Asia, where China has been expanding its economic influence.

In a rare outreach, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper earlier this month phoned Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who also oversees the Ministry of Defense, proposing to help the South Asian country modernize its military by 2030.

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