BD put emphasis on maintaining ocean health

BD put emphasis on maintaining ocean health

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Bangladesh has laid emphasis on maintaining ocean health by striking a balance between conservation, exploitation and utilization of marine resources.“We must follow the path of cooperation and collaboration, not competition and conflict, in tapping the full potentials of the Indian Ocean,” said Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.
He made the remarks while addressing as the chair of a plenary session of the Indian Ocean Conference 2016 in Singapore on Friday and called upon the Indian Ocean countries to coordinate their resources, synergise their strength and share their best practices in minimising adversities of climate change, with special focus on adaptation measures.
The Foreign Minister said maintaining balance in the ocean health would eventually contribute towards building an inclusive, equitable and sustainable society, as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015.
Mahmood Ali was leading the Bangladesh delegation to the Conference, which included Bangladesh High Commissioner to Singapore Mahbub Uz Zaman, Chairman, BIISS and Director General (Economic Affairs) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Former President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, delivered the keynote address at the session, said a Foreign Ministry media release.
They discussed in length the issue of rising significance of the Indian Ocean region in the evolving global geo-political scenario.
The session proposed organising a Summit level conference, engaging all stakeholders –government, academicians, civil society and private sectors — to find out a common approach in fostering further cooperation between the Indian Ocean countries and efficiently responding to challenges the Ocean present to them.
Highlighting the importance of the Indian Ocean in terms of facilitating trade, commerce and connectivity, the Foreign Minister stressed the necessity for ensuring freedom of navigation as well as safety and security of the sea lines of communication.
He expressed the view that the maritime disputes, including the overlapping territorial claims, need to be resolved through peaceful means.
He referred to pragmatic actions taken by the government of Bangladesh in settling its maritime problems with its neighbours — India and Myanmar, saying this had unleashed tremendous possibilities for all the parties to effectively exploit vast marine resources, including hydrocarbon reserves.
Mahmood Ali cited piracy and terrorism as well as human trafficking and drug smuggling as key security challenges and urged all to cooperate in tackling these global menaces.
He proposed that comprehensive security architecture based on mutual trust and partnership could be envisioned in this regard.
The Foreign Minister highlighted the climate change risks and vulnerabilities being faced by the Indian Ocean bordering countries.
On the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Conference, Foreign Minister held a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and discussed the issues of mutual interests and cooperation between the two friendly countries.
Singapore Foreign Minister was highly appreciative of the prompt and bold actions taken by the Bangladesh government in tracking and eliminating the terrorists, including the masterminds.
Reiterating his government’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister apprised him of various security, political and social measures adopted in combating terrorism and violent extremism in Bangladesh.
The State Minister for External Affairs of India MJ Akbar also called on Mahmood Ali.
They expressed satisfaction over the current pace of progress of bilateral relations and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening and expanding this relationship in the coming days.
The Indian minister renewed their support to Bangladesh in fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
He also conveyed that the Prime Minister of India is certain in two aspects, as far as Bangladesh is concerned- as an independent nation, Bangladesh has the absolute liberty to decide its own course of actions and India attaches high importance to building equal partnership for development with Bangladesh, more particularly for the advancement of the marginalised and disadvantaged people.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister was also interviewed by BBC TV, Times Now TV and Doordarshan TV during his stay in Singapore.
India Foundation, in collaboration with the Bangladesh Institute of International & Strategic Studies (BIISS), Bangladesh; Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka; and S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore hosted the conference.
The event was inaugurated by the Foreign Minister of Singapore and participated by ministers, senior civil and military bureaucrats, diplomats, academicians, researchers and civil societies.

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