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Britain to help strengthen Democracy: Alison Blake

40Newly appointed British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake recently said that her country would continue to work with the government, political parties, democratic institutions, and other stakeholders to help ‘flourish democracy’ in Bangladesh.

Blake, the first female High Commissioner from UK to Bangladesh, made the remark while talking to journalists at her first interaction with media after taking over charge formally.

Mentioning Bangladesh a young country, with a growing economy and a flourishing population she said that The UK is a somewhat older state and the growth rates certainly don’t match, however, the UK and Bangladesh share the broadest range of interests, including education, development, bilateral trade and prosperity and security, including action on the threats that can harm both countries.

And, as two Commonwealth countries, UK and Bangladesh share a set of core values including a commitment to Parliamentary democracy and a tolerant and pluralistic system with a commitment to protect and uphold human rights, she said.

She also emphasided, these two country’s people-to-people links are the bedrock of this bilateral relationship. UK has the largest Bangladeshi diaspora in Europe, and the nearly 500,000 British Bangladeshis have made an immense positive contribution to every aspect of British life, from Parliament to business, food, arts and culture, the UK is Bangladesh’s third biggest export market and many thousands of Bangladeshis visit or work or study in the UK each year, she said.

Alison Blake also emphasised on the contributions in both directions. Bangladesh is an important market and destination for British business. The UK is the largest cumulative investor in Bangladesh with over £1.3bn of investment in the country. Over 100 British companies operate in Bangladesh, including at least one that has been here for over 100 years. These companies span the fields of banking, consumer products, energy, consultancy, textiles, education, architecture and much more. They are also some of the largest contributors to the Bangladeshi Exchequer and have industry-leading social responsibility programmes. There is a great demand for the English language and other educational and skills training and cultural activities delivered by the British Council and British universities, colleges and arts organisations finds an avid audience here. And many British families have, like my own, ancestral links to Bengal’s historic past.

As Bangladesh’s friend and the biggest bilateral grant donor the UK care deeply about Bangladesh’s future and value deeply the UK’s relationship with Bangladesh, she said. She also mentioned that Bangladesh’s people have made an immense positive contribution to British society and UK believes that it can support Bangladesh on its democratic path and as it grows to be a stronger and more prosperous nation for all its people.