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Lord Ahmad praises Sheikh Hasina’s leadership and reassures UK’s support for Bangladesh



The UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the United Nations Lord Tariq Ahmad praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s outstanding leadership in driving Bangladesh’s significant economic growth and expressed satisfaction at the enhanced and strengthened Bangladesh-UK relations under her visionary leadership.

Speaking at the roundtable on ‘Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific Outlook and emerging partnership with the UK’, held on Monday at the UK’s House of Lords, he highlighted the historic visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to London on 8 January 1972 and his meeting with the then-UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath as the foundation of Bangladesh-UK’sstrong and enduring bilateral relations.

Highlighting the meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the King’s Coronation, Lord Ahmad said that the two leaders had a highly valuable exchange, both in substance and tone.

He commended the signing of two important instruments on aviation partnership and climate accord between Bangladesh and the UK this year to move forward bilateral relations to a new height. He expressed the UK government’s firm support for the realization of many of the aspirations of Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific Outlook; and Bangladesh’s efforts in addressing the Rohingya crisis. He also highlighted cooperation between the two countries on bilateral trade and investment, girls’ education, and cybersecurity.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam delivered the keynote speech at the roundtable, emphasizing the significance of unveiling Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific Outlook in April. He highlighted that the Indian Ocean and the greater Indo-Pacific region are critically important for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision to develop Bangladesh into a smart and knowledge-based country by 2041 and to realize Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s “friendship to all and malice towards none” foreign policy dictum.

He shared that the Indo-Pacific Outlook is geared to pursue Bangladesh’s foreign policy, economic and maritime security interest in the region as well as global aspirations for shared prosperity for all.

The State Minister said that the Indo-Pacific Outlook aims to enhance mutual trust, establish partnerships, and encourage dialogue for peace, prosperity, and security. Other goals include sub-regional partnerships, sustainable development, peace, security, humanitarian efforts, and fundamental rights.

He said that the UK remains a crucial partner of Bangladesh in realising Indo-Pacific Outlook and expressed interest to work together with the UK to reap shared prosperity, peace and stability in the region by aligning Bangladesh’s priorities with the UK’s ‘Indo-Pacific Tilt’ framework. He emphasized partnerships between Bangladesh and the UK on an enhanced and sustainable trade, investment and green supply chain, aviation, climate, ocean governance, maritime connectivity, defence and strategic cooperation, andthe Rohingya crisis.

High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem in her welcome speech reaffirmed her commitment to deepen Bangladesh’s strategic commitment with the UK, bringing greater synergies between the Indo-Pacific policies of global Britain and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.

The High Commissioner highlighted the significant progress made between Bangladesh-UKrelations this year, citing the signing of two important agreements including the Bangladesh-UK Climate Accord and Bangladesh-UK aviation partnership as well as a record bilateral trade of nearly 6 billion US dollars. She said that these developments serve as evidence of the emerging economic and strategic partnerships between the two Commonwealth nations.

Lord Rami Ranger, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indo-Pacific; Rushanara Ali MP, Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Bangladesh and Rohingya and the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Bangladesh; Viscount Waverley, Vice Chair and Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade and Investment; Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford, Former Secretary of State for Energy and Transport and Former Minister at the Foreign Office; Jane Hunt MP, Former Minister for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Virendra Sharma MP, Vice Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh; and Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to the UK also shared their perspectives on Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific Outlook.

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Indo-Pacific of the UK Parliament and Bangladesh High Commission in London co-hosted the event, which was attended by the members of the UK Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Indo-Pacific, and Bangladesh as well as several members of both House of Commons and House of Lords, and the representatives from the Foreign,  Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK.