Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali has called on Bimstec nations to enhance their security cooperation to “defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”
He was speaking at a panel discussion on Monday in New Delhi with heads of mission from Bimstec member states in India ahead of the fourth Bimstec summit, scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on August 30-31.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend the summit of the 21-year-old regional grouping that comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Referring to Sheikh Hasina’s zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and violent extremism Syed Muazzem said Bangladesh land is off-limit to any terrorist activities.
Bangladesh, he said, does not allow any terrorist group to launch attack against India or any other neighbouring country, according to Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
The envoy said security cooperation among Bimstec countries has increased. “I firmly believe that within Bimstec, we should be able to strengthen our cooperation to address terrorism and rise of violent extremism,” he said.
Syed Muazzem said the foreign policy initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government are focused on building stronger regional economic and technical cooperation.
Bangladesh sees Bimstec forum as a tool for economic development through regional integration.
“We draw inspiration for peace and development from the Father of our Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who in his speech on 6 February 1972 in Kolkata had said, “Let there be an end, once for all, to the sterile policy of confrontation between neighbours. Let us not fritter away our national resources but use them to lift the standard of living of our people… We will be wanting to cooperate with all concerned for creating an area of peace in South Asia.”
The envoy mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was one of the four founding leaders who had inspired the launching of the BIMSTEC in 1997.
“Her government attaches high priority to transform the BIMSTEC process more dynamic, effective and to strengthening the institutional mechanism for bringing out more results,” he said.
He said hosting the Bimstec Secretariat since 2014 in Dhaka is a testimony of our commitment to the BIMSTEC process.
Syed Muazzem listed comprehensive connectivity, regional trade, cooperation in energy sector and joint fight against poverty as areas of Bimstec cooperation for the benefit of the grouping’s 1.5 billion population.
The panel discussion was organized by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).