Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and former Indian National Congress President Sonia Gandhi are expected to visit Dhaka next year to attend the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen came up with the information while addressing a discussion on India’s contributions to the Liberation War of 1971 and Bangladesh-India relations.
The two countries want to "take the relationship, both diplomatic and otherwise, to newer heights" – sonali adhya (golden chapter) and beyond.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced that March 2020 to March 2021 would be observed as the ‘Mujib Borsho’ (Mujib Year) across the country to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu.
Year-long programmes at home and abroad will be observed with the participation of the mass people at the government and party levels apart from engagement from Bangladesh’s foreign friends.
The ‘Mujib Borsho’ will be followed by the golden jubilee celebrations of the country's independence in 2021.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh's Liberation War history is incomplete without detailed discussion on multifaceted contributions of the Indian government and people.
He said around 17,000 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives and many got injured while helping Bangladesh to get independence.
Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee organised the discussion at Poet Sufia Kamal Auditorium in the city’s National Museum on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of India’s recognition to Bangladesh.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee President Shahriar Kabir, Aroma Dutta, MP, former Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, Advisor, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Julian Francis, human rights activist and a friend of Bangladesh, among others, spoke at the function.
Dr Momen said the friendly relations between Bangladesh and India reached a new height over the last one decade which was termed "Golden Chapter" by the Indian Prime Minister.
He said the cordial relations between the head of the two governments have surely made the bilateral relations between the two countries much stronger. "We're hopeful that our relations will become deeper gradually."
The Foreign Minister said people of Bangladesh expect that friendly country India will not do anything which might create worries and panic among people of the two countries. "Through mutual friendship, Bangladesh and India will move ahead and expectations of the two countries will be fulfilled," he added.
On December 6, 1971, India recognised a friend with whom they share not only culture, heritage and civilisational ties but also their martyrdom.
Personally, the Indian High Commissioner shared some recollections of those historic times listening to the radio as a young girl.
"And as I stand before you today as the High Commissioner to commemorate this momentous day, one cannot ask for more – I am humbled!," she said.
The High Commissioner said the month of December remains special for the people of Bangladesh – it is a month that witnessed liberation from grave suffering and pain.
"While we commemorate this important day, we should not forget what happened in Chuknagar, Shakharipara, Jhalakati, Jathibhanga and the immense sacrifices made by Biranganas," said the Indian envoy.
India sheltered around 1 crore Bangladesh nationals causing enormous strain to its resources and their soldiers made the supreme sacrifice in the Liberation War.
"While it is true, I would like to submit that this is what friends do for each other – India stood by Bangladesh in 1971 and will continue to do so in future," Riva Ganguly said.
With Indian soldiers having shed blood together with the freedom fighters, the bonds the two countries share are eternal and will always stand the test of time, she said.
High Commissioner Riva said in the last 48 years, Bangladesh has grown "leaps and bounds" and is today the "envy" of many.
Its human development indicators are an example for others to emulate. And all this has been possible due to the sacrifice of those who did not live to see this day.
She said it is important that the present and future generations of Bangladesh grow up with what they call ‘muktijuddher chetona’ and it is where Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee plays a stellar role.
The High Commissioner said they will also work together to commemorate the two important anniversary years; Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary in 2020; and 50 years of Bangladesh’s War of Liberation, and the establishment of India-Bangladesh bilateral diplomatic ties in year 2021.
To commemorate these two historic years, the cultural interactions between India and Bangladesh will be enhanced and to this the Cultural Exchange Programme was renewed, she said.
The High Commissioner said they want to take the relationship, both diplomatic and otherwise, to newer heights – sonali adhyay and beyond.
Ambassador of Thailand to Bangladesh Arunrung Phothong Humphreys has said Thailand wants stronger and closer relationship with Bangladesh to achieve the ultimate goal of an enhanced economic partnership.
“I’ll do my utmost to ensure that the relations between Thailand and Bangladesh grow even stronger and closer,” said the Thai Ambassador on Thursday evening as she looks forward to her second year of ambassadorial duty here.
Ambassador Phothong was addressing a reception on Thursday evening marking the Thai National Day. Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Razzaque attended the function as the chief guest.
The bilateral trade volume stands at US$ 1.2 billion and there are about 23 Thai companies currently investing in Bangladesh with an accumulated value of US$ 1.5 billion, she said adding that with a Thai-Bangladesh concerted effort, the two countries can do more and achieve more.
The Ambassador said Bangladesh has risen to becoming a tiger in South Asia with an estimate growth of 8 percent annually and is transforming itself into a middle income country by 2021 and a Sonar Bangla – developed nation by 2041.
Highlighting regional cooperation, she said there has seen significant progress in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement which is to be signed in 2020, as well as the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Ambassador Phothong said the situation in Rakhine State was also addressed with a view to promoting an enhanced and visible Asean role in supporting the repatriation process as well as addressing the grave humanitarian situation and promoting sustainable development in Rakhine State.
The Thai Ambassador said there is an organic aspect of the partnership given their proximity and commonality.
“Although this partnership arises naturally from geopolitical circumstances, it must nevertheless be actively nurtured and elevated,” she said.
Politicians, diplomats stationed in Dhaka and senior journalists were present.
BRAC, one of the largest development organisations in the world, on Thursday announced that it is scaling up its global ambition to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
BRAC aims to reach at least 250 million disadvantaged women (and their dependents), youth and people living in poverty around the world, including Bangladesh, within the next 10 years.
BRAC Founder and Chair Emeritus Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they made a commitment to the people of the world to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. "With 10 years to go to achieve the SDGs, we need to set in motion an accelerated path.”
He said BRAC has always believed in creating impact at scale. "Small is beautiful, but scale is needed for greater impact. With 47 years of experience in working with the people of Bangladesh and 17 years of international experience in Africa and Asia, BRAC is ready to collaborate on a global scale and to share our learning with public, private and non-governmental partners.”
BRAC’s global strategy outlines three priority goals: empowering at least 250 million people to have control over their own livelihoods; reaching at least 30 percent of the participants with multiple interventions; and leading innovation and the dissemination of learning in the development sector.
BRAC has formed a Global Board, with three initial members, to guide the implementation roadmap of its global strategy, said a media release.
The principal role of the BRAC Global Board will be to ensure that BRAC has the right strategy, resources and governance to support its vision.
There will be no other immediate change to BRAC’s existing Boards and governance structure.
In future, the BRAC Global Board will review its activities and governance mechanisms, as needed, to consolidate BRAC’s unified global strength as ‘One BRAC’ in support of its vision.
The BRAC Global Board will be chaired by Ameerah Haq, currently Chair of the Supervisory Board of Stichting BRAC International.
Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, currently Chairperson of the BRAC Bangladesh Board and a renowned academic, economist and policymaker, has been nominated as the Senior Trustee of the Global Board.
The third member of the Global Board is Lord Mark Malloch-Brown KCMG. Lord Malloch-Brown served as the Deputy Secretary-General and Chef-de-Cabinet of the UN under Kofi Annan.
Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC and Dr Muhammad Musa, Executive Director, BRAC International welcomed the formation of the BRAC Global Board, marking it as an important step towards the worldwide scale-up of BRAC’s impact.
Founded in 1972 in Bangladesh, BRAC currently operates in eleven countries in Asia and Africa, reaching over 100 million people.
The countries of its operations are: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nepal, Myanmar, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
Besides, BRAC’s ultra-poor graduation approach, an integrated model to address extreme poverty, has been adapted in more than 40 countries by NGOs, governments and multilateral institutions.
Ameerah Haq said it is a huge honour to serve as the Chair of the BRAC Global Board and she is very proud of the work that the entire BRAC family does as a truly purpose-driven organisation.
"We aim to effectively scale up our learning and proven approaches from the Global South to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs by 2030," she said.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines will be operating sixteen special flights in addition to their regular flights in the current month to bring stranded migrant workers back from Malaysia.
The national flag carrier took the decision as per directives of Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry in order to help those trapped who received general amnesty under the “Back for Good” programme of Malaysian government, said a Biman press release that added the flights will be operated by its Boeing 737 and 787-8 Dreamliner.
State Minster for Civil Aviation and Tourism M Mahbub Ali, in this regard, said “as the national flag carrier, Bangladesh Biman has liability to the countrymen. Civil Aviation Ministry and Biman would operate the flights on this ground.”
Although Malaysian government declared general amnesty for illegal Bangladeshi workers under Back for Good programme, the workers have been stranded due to ticket crisis.
The government has appointed AKM Shahidul Karim, currently serving as the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Bangladesh’s new Ambassador to Bhutan.
Ambassador-designate Karim is a career foreign service officer, belonging to 18th batch of Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Foreign Affairs cadre, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Thursday.
In his diplomatic career, Karim served in various capacities at Bangladesh Missions in Stockholm, Cairo and London. He also served as Consul General in Jeddah.
He graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (Buet).
Karim also participated in an executive programme on trade negotiations at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore as well as completed Japanese Language Course at Kansai Kokusai Center in Osaka, Japan.