The policy of maintaining friendly and good neighbourly relations has guided Bangladesh through difficult times with Myanmar, says the state minister
Bangladesh has remained steadfast in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s path of peace and continued its engagements with Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis in a peaceful manner, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam has said.
“We hope to see the problem to be resolved permanently with the sustainable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar as expressed by our prime minister [Sheikh Hasina] at the UN General Assembly,” he said on Sunday.
He said Bangladesh enjoys the best of its relations with its largest neighbour India, and it is the policy of friendly and good neighbourly relations with neighbours that guided Bangladesh through difficult times with its neighbour Myanmar.
Shahriar mentioned that Rohingya influx from Myanmar into Bangladesh has created a humanitarian crisis and soured the relations in recent times.
He was addressing a webinar titled “Bangabandhu and Bangladesh: Leadership and Foreign Policy” organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).
BIISS Chairman Ambassador M Fazlul Karim and its Director General Major General Md Emdad Ul Bari, among others, spoke at the webinar.
Shahriar said Bangabandhu clearly understood that in a realist world that was marred by conflicts, wars, and rivalries; it would be important for a country like Bangladesh not only to keep equidistance but uphold multilateralism, particularly through the UN system.
“Hence, this remained Bangladesh’s diplomatic strength where Bangladesh engages as an active voice in various normative and policymaking initiatives. Bangladesh has maintained its success in promoting international peace and security through peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, under the pragmatic and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.
In the coming days, the state minister said, Bangladesh will continue to follow Bangabandhu’s footsteps in its peace-centric and sustainable development focused approach in the international forum. “Bangabandhu believed in the collective power of Bengali nation and humanity.”
Amidst this global Covid-19 pandemic, whereas many of the nations are struggling to keep up their economic progression, Bangladesh is performing admirably, he said.
“It’s my firm belief that the dreams and aspirations those were sown by our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to turn this country into “Sonar Bangla”, will be achieved through the indomitable resolve and hard work by the nation under the leadership of our great leader Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.
Bangladesh is celebrating 2020 as “Mujib Borhso,” or Mujib Year, to mark its Bangabandhu’s birth century; also mourn, and reflect on, his brutal assassination 46 years ago on the August 15, 1975.
The designated paper presenters were Prof Dr Gobinda Chakraborty, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka; Prof Dr ASM Ali Ashraf, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka; Dr Smruti Pattanaik, Research Fellow, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi; Prof Shahab Enam Khan, Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University; Dr Sufia Khanom, Senior Research Fellow, and M Ashique Rahman, Research Fellow, BIISS.
They shed light on the following topics: “Post-War Reconstruction”; “Balancing Divergent Global Powers”; “Bangabandhu: Leader of the Oppressed”; “Idea of Regional Cooperation”; “Empowerment of Women” and “Roots of Bangladesh Foreign Policy”.
Speakers emphasized the fact that Bangabandhu has been a charismatic leader in world history and his entire life was dedicated to the oppressed people.
The nature of Bangladesh’s foreign policy has been a balancing one since the time of Bangabandhu. Leadership, wisdom, and personal relationship with world leaders enabled him to achieve diplomatic successes in the international arena through friendship, solidarity and cooperation, they said.
Senior officials from different ministries, ambassadors and high commissioners, senior civil and military officials, media, academia, teachers and students from different universities participated at the webinar and shared their opinions.