Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh, under the prudent leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has adopted “zero tolerance” policy against all forms and manifestation of terrorism and violent extremism.
“We have even walked extra miles to ensure peace and stability in Bangladesh and beyond,” he said while addressing a webinar on ‘Revisiting Contemporary Peace and Security Challenges in the South Asian Region.”
Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized the event. The event was also addressed by Prof Imtiaz Ahmed and Prof Rashed Uz Zaman of Internationals Department of Dhaka University, Brig Gen Monirul Islam Akhand, Director, Overseas Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters, Additional IGP Md. Monirul Islam BIISS Chairman M Fazlul Karim, BIISS DG Maj Gen Md. Emdad Ul Bari and BIISS Research Fellow M Ashique Rahman.
The Foreign Minister said the world is rapidly shifting from a uni-polar to a multi-polar reality and consequently, the international system itself is exposed to profound instability.
A host of non-traditional security issues such as pandemics, terrorism, drug trafficking, influx of persecuted people like Rohingya, piracy and ecological disasters, internal hostile rules against their own minority population based on ethnicity or religion leading to fear and uncertainty among others, has come to feature prominently in regional and global politics, he said.
In other words, Momen said non-traditional security has reinforced the neo-liberal faith in institutions as the custodians of international norms and values. “In the post-Cold War period, despite the emergence of non-traditional security issues, traditional security and economic challenges continue to dominate the priority list for the nation-states.”
In this backdrop, he said South Asia as a region needs to decipher the challenges and opportunities that might emerge from these new systemic shifts in order to sail through the troubled water of an impulsive global order.
Most of the South Asian Nations undergo certain internal factors which have, over the decades, polarized the region resulting in disintegration despite convergence in socio-economic condition, common cultural values, shared ethos and identical memory of past colonial regime, said the Bangladesh Foreign Minister.
“The sooner we prioritize our common thrust for prosperity and roadmap to end hostilities and mistrust, the better. Practice of overarching democratic values in judicious way in every country of the region would potentially drive away the divergences.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has opened the eyes to the new realities that we must consider while we strive to move forward. “With every passing day, the world is countering new and deeper fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic on countries and communities across the globe.”
The evolving pandemic has proliferated beyond a health crisis into a growing threat on socio-economic systems and livelihoods. Unfortunately, we are likely to confront new challenges.
“We have discovered with awe and disappointment, that global politics and affluence-power nexus have the overpowering dominance in the global society and we wonder if the way to procure vaccines would be smooth at all as the bilateral cooperation is not the only deciding factor,” the Foreign Minister observed.
In this context, he mentioned that Bangladesh could initiate and adhere to a form of ‘vaccine diplomacy’ which ensures diversified sources of vaccines and it is imperative that South Asian nations should receive their share of the vaccine and that too without any strings attached.
“We demand Covid vaccines to be a public good and its technology should be shared and available to all countries to produce it at an affordable price.” To obtain the full health, societal, and economic benefits of vaccines, programs must be coordinated, inclusive, and equitable, he said.