Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Bangabandhu’s diplomatic acumen and foresight, demonstrated before and after the independence, have been ably inherited by his first-born, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
With her characteristic conviction and patience, he said Sheikh Hasina has taken Bangladesh to new heights of international diplomacy – be that for peacefully settling disputes, or opening up new avenues for regional connectivity, or taking lead for the climate vulnerable countries or giving shelter to millions of persecuted Rohingya in a rare humanitarian gesture.“Many accolades showered on her by prominent
world leaders during our Golden Jubilee celebrations speak for themselves,” he said in a vide message on the occasion of the Foreign Service Day that falls on April 18.
The geo-political significance of Bangladesh’s economic rise and development credentials are now unmistakable to foreign policy pundits, Momen said.
“The South Asian region, as in 1971, is again becoming a centre of attention for international diplomacy, with profound implications for Bangladesh and its place in the world,” the Foreign Minister said and extended his thanks to all friends in the international community who have consistently stood by Bangladesh and held on to their faith in the potentials.
Momen said this year, the Foreign Service Day is being observed as part of twin celebrations for the Birth Centenary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of our Independence.
On 18 April, 1971, 65 Bengali officials serving at the Deputy High Commission of Pakistan in Kolkata pledged their allegiance to the independent Bangladesh under the leadership of late M. Hossain Ali, the Deputy High Commissioner at the time.This was the first time the flag of the independent Bangladesh was raised at a Chancery in a foreign soil.
Prior to this day, the late Ambassador KM Shehabuddin and Amzadul Haque, two officers then posted to New Delhi, defected from the Pakistan High Commission on April 6 in 1971.
These acts of courage and patriotism were followed by a number of Bengali officers serving in diplomatic missions in North America, Europe and other parts of the world, said Foreign Minister Momen.
“On this Foreign Service Day, at this critical juncture of our nation, I am joined by my colleagues in the Ministry and our Missions abroad to reaffirm our resolve to face the unforeseen challenges coming our way, and also to seize the unbounded opportunities that beckon Bangladesh, a land of opportunity,” he said.
Momen said the Bangladesh Foreign Service carries this proud legacy as its innate source of inspiration and guidance. It stands tall on the foundational dictum of ‘Friendship to All, Malice towards None’, boldly asserted by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“This succinct motto proved to be time-tested and almost prophetic during the fifty years of Bangladesh’s diplomatic pursuits, even throughout successive regime changes,” he added.
The Foreign Minister said the government is now grooming new generation of Foreign Service officers who will bravely reach out to the world with Bangabandhu’s vision of a Sonar Bangla engraved in their mind and the ‘can-do’ spirit instilled in their heart by our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“I personally feel humbled to see our officials braving the challenges of the ongoing pandemic to render their services in hotspots in different parts of the world,” he said.
He said diplomacy is an art that draws strength from the whole of society and gets supported by the whole of government.
“On this auspicious occasion, I pay tribute to our nearly 12 million-strong expatriate community across the globe for their contributions to our nation-building and international branding,” he said and thanked all the friends in the international community who have consistently stood by Bangladesh and held on to their faith in our potentials.
Momen said the Foreign Ministry was hoping to observe this Day in the presence of the Prime Minister, which they had to defer due to the pandemic-induced strict lockdown currently in place.
He greeted his colleagues in the Foreign Ministry and missions abroad to reaffirm their resolve to face the unforeseen challenges coming their way, and also to seize the unbounded opportunities that beckon Bangladesh, a land of opportunity.