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Govt working to consolidate ties with neighbours: Shahriar

Politics 2023-01-24, 7:14pm

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Shahriar Alam, state minister for Foreign Affairs.



Dhaka, Jan 24 - State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said the Bangladesh government is persistently working to consolidate relations with neighbours for regional stability, shared prosperity, and mutual development.

Speaking as the chief guest at a seminar, he emphasised strengthening bilateral relations with neighbours through promoting partnership and cooperation, increasing trade and commerce, pursuing cooperation in the water and power sector, enhancing connectivity, collaborating on capacity building for people-to-people contact and underscored the importance of humanitarian assistance to demonstrate soft power.

Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organised the seminar on ‘Strengthening Bangladesh’s Foreign Relations with Neighbours in the Evolving Global Order’

The State Minister Bangladesh’s principal foreign policy – friendship to all, malice towards none- will remain intact whatever the global order is shifting towards.

“Our principal position - friendship to all, malice towards none- will remain intact, no matter what happens,” he said.

The state minister said that Bangladesh would also never compromise in the areas of its founding principles - nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism.

“Keeping those intact, Bangladesh will continue its resources … we have large Bangladeshi diaspora .. we do have, of course, some soft power,” he said.

Alam said Bangladesh would continue to expand its relationship that has already established as a good neighbour in its neighbourhood.

“We (also) hope that our neighbours will try to reciprocate that with best of their ability,” he said adding that these are more relevant when the world is undergoing a complex situation condition  

M Humayun Kabir, President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), chaired the session and Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin, Director General, BIISS, delivered the welcome address.

Dr Lailufar Yasmin, Professor and Chairperson, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, made a presentation on “Navigating Bangladesh’s Foreign Relations with the Neighbours in the Evolving Global Order.”

ATM Rokebul Haque, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered his presentation on “Bangladesh’s Foreign Policy Towards Her Neighbours: Friendship with Shared Prosperity.”

Dr Mahfuz Kabir, Research Director, BIISS, made his presentation on “Exploring New Avenues of Cooperation with the Neighbours.”

M Ashique Rahman, Senior Research Fellow, BIISS, presented on “Sustaining Bangladesh’s Relations in the Extended Neighbourhood.”

Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin highlighted the re-emergence of Asia in the current global context.

He emphasised on strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations with both close-door neighbours and extended neighbours and promoting multilateralism to find peaceful and sustainable solutions to regional problems.

Humayun Kabir, President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) noted that in the changing global order, countries around the world are struggling to formulate their foreign policies with neighbours and Bangladesh must navigate through this cautiously.

Senior officials from different ministries, ambassadors, high commissioners, former diplomats, senior military officials, researchers, business people, teachers, students from various universities, representatives from different think tanks, international organisations, and media personalities participated in the programme.

As the world faces unprecedented geopolitical and economic challenges following the coronavirus pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, the speakers said, Bangladesh needs to ramp up its diplomatic efforts for regional cooperation in South and Southeast Asia and beyond.

They said amid the changing geopolitical shift, the global focus is also shifting to the Indo-Pacific, creating opportunities as well as challenges for Bangladesh, and the balancing the great powers will be an imperative. - UNB