Newly appointed foreign minister Abdul Kalam Abdul Momen said the government would cultivate more effective ties with China and India pursuing a vigorous economic diplomacy.
“My main focus will be to pursue a vigorous economic diplomacy with all major countries and particularly the neighbours,” the minister told reporters on Tuesday.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed him to intensify cooperation with neighbours on the basis of ‘solid partnership’ and ensure that the foreign office acts as a partner of other ministries to draw more foreign investments in the country.
He also hinted that the new government wanted to reap the benefit of the friendships with both India and China.
“The foreign ministry would effectively do its part to elevate the country’s status as a higher middle income by 2021 as envisaged by the premier and draw the required foreign assistance in implementing the government’s ambitious development plans,” said the minister.
Minister Momen said intense relations with neighbours like India and China would remain as a major policy while he would try to cultivate more effective ties with all major foreign nations like the US, the UK and France keeping Bangladesh”s integrity intact.
“In no time in the recent history, our relations with India was so good. We will maintain it and rather take it to another level,” he said.
Asked about major challenges before him, the new minister referred to the Rohingya crisis and preferred to call it “an economic issue” but feared it could affect the regional stability unless addressed through a conserted effort involving nations in the neighbourhood.
“The issue needs to be solved as soon as possible, otherwise it would affect stability of the entire region,” he said.
Having a doctorate degree in economics and MBA in business from Boston’s Northeastern University and MPA in public administration, public policy and international economics from the Harvard University, Momen was elected from the northeastern Sylhet constituency.
His elder brother, AMA Muhith, was elected to parliament from the same constituency during the last parliament election and served as Bangladesh’s longest serving finance minister in Ms Hasina’s cabinet.