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‘BIG-B to turn Bangladesh into a hub of regional connectivity’

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 16 March, 2021 12:00 AM
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‘BIG-B to turn Bangladesh into a hub of regional connectivity’
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki along with others pose for a photo at the inaugural ceremony of a two-day regional conference on ‘The Bay of Bengal as Connectivity Hub in Indo-Pacific Region’ at Independent University Bangladesh in the capital on Sunday. SUN photo

Ambassador of Japan ITO Naoki has emphasised the importance of bringing Bangladesh into a hub of regional connectivity, bridging South Asia to Southeast and East Asia, through realizing mega infrastructure projects under the initiative of “Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B)”.

Under the BIG-B, Japan is implementing several mega-projetc including Matarbari Deep-Sea Port, Dhaka MRT and Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Extension, which will strategically significant for Bangladesh to increase its economic opportunities, he said.

The ambassador told this while addressing a two-day regional conference on “The Bay of Bengal as Connectivity Hub in Indo-Pacific Region” which was jointly organised by the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies and the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) on Sunday.

The conference was supported by Embassy of Japan, High Commission of India, Asian Development Bank and World Bank, said a press release of the Embassy of Japan.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Ambassador Tariq A Karim, Ambassador of Japan ITO Naoki and Indian High Commissioner Vikram Dosaiswami addressed at the inaugural session on Sunday. PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi spoke on the concluding session on Monday as the chief guest.

Ambassador ITO also elaborated the vision of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), which shares common values with India’s IPOI (Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative) and expressed Japan’s intention to make a full effort to realize the Free and Open Indo Pacific in collaboration with Bangladesh.

Prof Tanaka Akihiko, president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), ex-President of JICA spoke at the session “MIDI, BIG-B”.          

BIG-B to turn 

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Prof Tanaka said “The Indo-Pacific region is becoming the global center of economic gravity. The vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific is based on this historic trend. Preservation of peace is the essential condition of its realization.”

Nishida Ippeita, senior research fellow of Sasakawa Peace Foundation, spoke at the session. He pointed out strategic eminence of the Bay of Bengal region for Japan would outgrow.

He also suggested Japan to take active roles in shaping the regional debate and addressing vulnerabilities, as connectivity to the east would bring profound impact on the outlook of the Indo-Pacific environment