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Indo-Pacific Region

Bangladesh recognised as critical stability provider

Dhaka urges London to continue trade preferential facilities

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 11 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Bangladesh recognised as critical stability provider
Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, welcome Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem to the 4th UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue in London on Thursday. —SUN PHOTO

The UK has recognised Bangladesh’s role as a critical stability provider in Indo-Pacific region, and its particular relevance to the context of the UK’s integrated foreign, trade, development and security policy review with focus on the region.   

The recognition came during a day-long talks at the 4th Strategic Dialogue held in London on Thursday. The two countries reaffirmed their historic and multi-dimensional ties and discussed bilateral, regional and global issues, said a Foreign Ministry press statement.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation at the talks while his British counterpart Sir Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the UK side.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Ambassador Robert Chatterton Dickson were also present.

“Bangladesh at 50 and the UK post-BREXIT have the opportunity to further energize our bilateral relations in line with our efforts at resetting our foreign policy pursuits towards deeper strategic engagement with key international partners,” said Masud Bin Momen. Sir Philip Barton has underlined the importance of the two democracies engaging with each other on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

The two sides recalled the founding of the bilateral relations during Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visit to London on January 8, 1972 on his way to the newly independent Bangladesh, when he was received by the British Prime Minister Edward Heath.  

During the day-long talks, the two sides agreed to remain engaged on a durable solution for the Rohingya crisis, together with relevant regional and international actors. Both delegations exchanged views on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

The Bangladesh foreign secretary urged the UK to review the current travel restrictions on Bangladesh as a matter of priority, considering the steady improvement in the Covid-19 infection and vaccination rates.

The two sides agreed to further scale up cooperation in genome sequencing of the testing samples through relevant Bangladesh agencies.

Both Bangladesh and the UK renewed their commitment to climate action, including by combining forces of the UK’s COP26 Presidency and Bangladesh’s leadership of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

The two sides decided to build on the bilateral climate partnership agreed earlier in the year to help mobilise finances and technologies to support Bangladesh’s efforts at pursuing a low-carbon development pathway.   

The two delegations exchanged views on cooperation on education, with particular focus on girls’ education in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The UK further explained its new immigration policy whereby overseas students would have the opportunity to work for two to three years following the completion of their studies. The two sides agreed to explore ways to deepen cross-border collaboration in research and innovation.

The Bangladesh delegation urged the UK to consider continued trade preferential measures following its LDC graduation.

The two sides agreed to facilitate further business-to-business connectivity, including through the leading Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Both sides welcomed the launch of the bilateral Trade and Investment Dialogue in February 2021.

The two delegations renewed their commitment to combat terrorism, promote and protect human rights, and cooperate on aviation, maritime and cyber security. Both sides agreed in principle to initiate a comprehensive dialogue towards building a sound migration and mobility partnership.

Both sides shared interest in commemorating 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations, including through exchange of high-level visits.

The two delegations appreciated the multi-faceted contributions of the Bangladesh diaspora in the UK and agreed to work on issues that are of particular interest to the community. The Bangladesh side commended the British Council for its cooperation activities in the country spanning seven decades.

Both Bangladesh and the UK discussed upcoming issues at the UN and the Commonwealth.

The Strategic Dialogue was held in a warm, friendly atmosphere and also featured cultural presentations by local Bangladesh artistes and photographs from 1971 showcasing public engagements by the Bangladesh community in Britain to mobilize support for the country’s independence.

Prior to the Dialogue, the Bangladesh foreign secretary called on Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, FCDO Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth at his office.

asud Bin Momen also had a meeting later with Rushnara Ali, MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and the UK Trade Envoy for Bangladesh. The meetings touched upon issues concerning pandemic response, climate change, trade cooperation and diaspora linkages.

The 4th Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue was held in the same week as the earlier meeting between the Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and his British counterpart Dominic Raab in connection with the former’s official visit to the UK.