Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to share prior information on any flying of drones/aircrafts/helicopters at the border of the two close neighboring countries to avoid misunderstandings and any untoward situation. Besides, they also decided to exchange information about any incident of firing/shooting/explosion/ movement of security forces at the border. The decisions were taken during the 8th Senior Level Border Conference between the respective border security forces, the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and Myanmar's Border Guard Police (BGP) held at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar, that ended with the signing of Joint Records of Discussion (JRD) on November 27. Major General Shakil Ahmed, Director General (DG) of Border Guard Bangladesh, who led a 10-member delegation at the border conference, revealed it at a press briefing at BGB headquarters here on Tuesday. Briefing reporters, Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed said that they have taken up the issue of some incidents of airspace violations along the border during the conference. "We also requested our counterpart to share prior information if they need to fly a drone or a chopper in the border area," he said. After discussion, both BGB and BGP agreed to maintain the border norms and practices and to share information with each other about any incident of firing/shooting/explosion/ movement of security forces at the border including early information of any flying of drones/aircrafts/helicopters to avoid misunderstanding and untoward situation. The Myanmar side took note of the concerns of Bangladesh on the issues of landmine and electrification of the border fence. During the border conference, the DG BGB expressed his grave concern over the ongoing unstable security situation in close proximity to the international boundary inside Myanmar and urged the BGP to adopt necessary measures in arresting the situation. Read more: BGB-BGP flag meeting ends with Myanmar officially regretting border incidents He also highlighted the need for joint efforts of both forces in curbing the drugs and narcotics inflow to Bangladesh from Myanmar and combating different trans-national crimes including illegal border crossing and sought cooperation from BGP. The DG BGB also reiterated the national concern about the early repatriation of the Rohingyas, officially referred to as Displaced Myanmar Nationals from Rakhine temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh and solicited appropriate endeavors from the Myanmar side to that end. Recognizing the significance of information sharing to maintain peace and law enforcement in the border areas, both sides agreed to share information by various means on a timely basis between the designated contact points at various levels. Both sides also agreed to collaborate with each other actively and effectively to prevent the activities of trans-border criminal gangs by sharing real-time information. Besides, the conference also agreed that Bangladesh will maintain a 'Zero Tolerance' policy with all-out efforts to prevent illicit drugs and psychotropic substances especially Yaba and Crystal Meth ICE trafficking along the border and the Myanmar side will continue anti-drugs measures following its national drug control policy. Based upon the local situation, both sides agreed to arrange a seminar/symposium about the negative impact of drugs to facilitate public awareness amongst the bordering people, he said. Both sides also agreed to work jointly to improve the present border situation through information sharing and informing respective appropriate agencies/authorities and pursue to keep the border stable and peaceful for bordering people. Read more: BGB wide awake along border with Myanmar: DG Police Major General Aung Naing Thu, Deputy Chief of Myanmar Police Force (MPF), who led a 15-member Myanmar delegation in the conference, emphasized Myanmar's adherence to the Border Agreement-1980 and he urged to enhance bilateral cooperation in combating illicit drugs and psychotropic substances and to prevent illegal border crossing. He also urged to resume coordinated patrols between the two guarding forces to counter the potential threats posed by terrorist groups along the border, relayed the DG BGB.
The body of a Bangladeshi farmer, who was shot and tortured to death allegedly by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) along the Feni border on November 13, was handed over to Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Tuesday. The body was handed over through Bilonia Land port in Feni. Md Saiful Islam, officer-in-charge of Parshuram police station, said it was sent to Fenir Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy. Read more: BSF hands over body of Bangladeshi cattle trader The deceased was Meshbar, 47, son of Mafizur Rahman of Uttar Guthuma village under the Parshuram upazila. Victim’s wife Morium and locals said the BSF picked him up from his cropland while he was harvesting paddy on November 13 afternoon. Morium alleged that the BSF members punched, kicked and beat him when he tried to resist them. At one stage, sound of firing was heard there. Later, the members of BGB and BSF held meetings for three times over the matter, but the BSF denied the allegation of picking him up. Read more: BSF hands over body of Bangladeshi teenager after 5 days The body of the farmer was found lying on the ‘Zero Line’ between the countries on November 16.
The Malaysia Timber Council (MTC), a semi-government body, is keen to engage with Bangladeshi timber importers, furniture and interior décor companies, and other stakeholders for updating the Malaysian timber industry about the market potential in Bangladesh. MTC Regional Representative Arif Nasir and Assistant Manager Nasrul Izan Shahrin visited the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) office in Dhaka Monday and had a meeting on bilateral issues. BMCCI Secretary General Md Motaher Hoshan Khan and Executive Secretary Hasanur Rahman Chowdhury were present at the meeting. Motaher discussed the possible ways of collaboration and agreed to work together on issues related to the timber and furniture industry's potential as well as investment opportunities in the economic zones in Bangladesh from Malaysia. MTC sought cooperation from BMCCI for engaging more with the fast-growing Bangladesh consumer market. The body also agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BMCCI in the next Showcase Bangladesh to be held on February 22-23 2023 for the exchange of information and exploring more trade and investment opportunities in Bangladesh for Malaysia. Motaher assured MTC of the overall cooperation and greater engagement with the furniture and timber industries of Bangladesh.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has brought together representatives of around 70 countries, including Bangladesh, to drive forward urgent action to tackle the scourge of sexual violence in conflict. The foreign secretary Monday opened an international conference in London. The two-day event that will end Tuesday put survivors of sexual violence in conflict at the centre of the global response. Cleverly said the threat of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, or as part of its aftermath, should bring immediate international condemnation, and swift action to deter those attacks before they occur. "Today, we stand in solidarity with survivors, determined to bring justice," he added. "I want to send an unequivocal message to those who order, allow or perpetrate sexual violence against women and girls that "it isn't combat; it isn't strength; it is cowardice." International survivors, government ministers and representatives of NGOs are also at the conference to share what they have learned and agree on a united response to prevent atrocities from taking place in future. Fazilatun Nessa Indira, state minister for women and children affairs, Md Hasanuzzaman Kallol, secretary of the ministry, and Saida Muna Tasneem, Bangladesh high commissioner to the UK, are representing Bangladesh. The delegation also includes human rights activists Shireen Huq and Rani Yan Yan; lawyers Raziya Sultana and Sara Hussain; academic Bina D'Costa and artist Leesa Gazi. This week's conference marks 10 years of the UK government's landmark Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI). The UK has been at the vanguard of efforts to combat conflict-related sexual violence for the past decade, ever since former foreign secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie jointly launched PSVI in 2012. Since then, the UK has supported nearly 100 projects across 29 countries – from safe shelters in Bosnia, to judicial support in Iraq and Colombia, and training for peacekeepers in East Africa. New evidence has shown that an estimated 20 to 30 percent of women and girls in conflict-affected settings experience sexual violence.
President of India Droupadi Murmu on Monday said Bangladesh occupies a special place in India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy and she looks forward to “stronger and deeper” cooperation between the two countries in all aspects in the coming days. Murmu recalled the joint celebrations of “Mujib Year” marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s War of Liberation and 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties. She made the remarks when newly appointed Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md Mustafizur Rahman presented his credentials to the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mentioning the immense political will to take forward the relations, Murmu recalled her recent meeting with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this September in New Delhi and later in London. She has also mentioned that Bangladesh is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia and highlighted the largest visa operations of India in Dhaka. Read: Dictionary.com chooses `existential' as word of the year By welcoming and congratulating the new envoy, President Murmu has said that India-Bangladesh relations are bounded by language, culture, and history and the unique tie is forged in shared sacrifices. High Commissioner Rahman appreciated for the opportunity to present the credentials and conveyed greetings from Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The high commissioner has said Bangladesh remains grateful to the Government and people of India for extending their moral and material support during the War of Liberation fought under the leadership of Bangabandhu in 1971. The Indo-Bangladesh cooperation had, in fact, begun on the battlefield of 1971, he recalled. He said that the India-Bangladesh relation has reached a new height and it is described as a model of “neighbourhood relations”. The envoy assured the Indian President that he would try to further expand and consolidate bilateral cooperation. Read: Work together to keep 1971 legacy alive: Indian envoy at 'Maitri Alumni Reunion' He underscored Hasina’s persistent efforts to further promote regional and sub-regional cooperation on a win-win basis. He thanked the government of India for inviting Bangladesh to the G-20 Summit. Rahman takes up his India assignment after serving as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Offices, WTO and other International Organizations in Geneva from 2020-22. He was also Bangladesh's ambassador to Switzerland.
Netherlands, IOM join hands to improve environment, strengthen resilience of Rohingyas, host communities in Cox’s Bazar
The Netherlands will provide USD 7.5 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for a project aims to provide multi-sectoral support assistance for the Rohingya refugees and the host communities in Cox’s Bazar. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dhaka and the IOM have signed an agreement for the implementation of ‘Restoring the Environment and Strengthening Resilience of Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities in Cox’s Bazar’ project. An Exchange of Notes was signed by Chargé d’Affaires Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, and Fathima Nusrath Ghazzali, Officer in Charge of IOM Bangladesh at the IOM Office in Dhaka on Monday. Cox’s Bazar District, currently hosting nearly one million Rohingya refugees since 2017, is prone to natural disasters and climate change impacts. Refugees and host communities are vulnerable to landslides and floods, particularly during cyclones which can occur annually. Read more: IOM unveils first 12 of 100 under-construction community clinics in Cox’s Bazar The temporary and often weak shelter structures in which the refugees live further exacerbate not only the vulnerability of the refugees to natural disasters but also psychosocial stress. For this reason, the project seeks to integrate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) into the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities. This integrated approach adopted by the Netherlands and IOM aims to build resilient communities and reduce negative mental health and psychosocial outcomes, and to increase the community’s capacity in DRR prevention and preparedness as well as their resilience to hazardous events. It is envisioned that 196,463 people from refugee and host communities will benefit from the project, receiving assistance through the continued operation and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, environmental rehabilitation activities and MHPSS (psychiatric consultations, counseling, case management). Some 18,000 beneficiaries will receive lay-counseling by trained community volunteers. At least 200 volunteers will be trained on Psychological First Aid (PFA), lay counseling, stress management and other MHPSS-related and residence-oriented topics. At least 18 community support groups will be established, involving 180 community members. The project will also benefit at least 30,000 refugee families (approximately 150,000 people) living in the Balukhali landslide and flood-prone areas (inside the camps) and 3,000 families from the Bangladeshi host communities (approximately 16,410 people) living in the area outside the refugee camps. Read more: Bangladesh can’t & shouldn’t bear Rohingyas’ responsibility alone: IOM “The Rohingya live in congested camps with limited opportunities and complex challenges. Host communities also face issues that increase their vulnerability, including strained resources, limited market access, limited employment opportunities, insufficient infrastructure, and recurring environmental shocks," said Ghazzali, "With support from the Netherlands, IOM will provide life-saving support to Rohingya refugees and host communities, contributing to improved social harmony and human security. This will include providing essential services focusing on camp life; mental health; disaster risk reduction, and water, sanitation & hygiene,” she added. Chargé d’Affaires Thijs Woudstra expressed hope that the support from the Government of the Netherlands will help to improve the living conditions of both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi communities and mitigate disaster risks. “We particularly value the innovative angle this project takes in integrating MHPSS in DRR. Increasing community resilience and preparing the community to adequately respond to disasters is key to ensure a sustainable reduction of disaster risks for refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar.” the Deputy Ambassador said. The project will be implemented in coordination with the government of Bangladesh and other relevant stakeholders.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls has said Bangladesh is the key part of Canada's just launched Indo-Pacific strategy. “It will usher in a new era of making Canada attractive and a long-term significant partner in the region and Bangladesh is a key part of that strategy,” she said on Sunday night just moments ahead of the formal launching of the long-awaited strategy in Vancouver. The high commissioner said the new Indo-Pacific strategy recognises Bangladesh in the Indo-Pacific at large and is absolutely critical for Canada and for Canadians. Read: Momen courts Canadian investors at 50th anniversary event The Canadian envoy was speaking at an event hosted by the Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham Bangladesh) celebrating 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen spoke as the chief at the event. Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Md Jashim Uddin, CanCham President Masud Rahman and Principal of Canadian International School of Bangladesh Janice Smales also spoke at the event. The Indo-Pacific region is key to Canada’s economic growth, prosperity and security. As a Pacific nation, Canada recognises that the Indo-Pacific region is critically important for the long-term prosperity, health and security of Canadians. High commissioner Nicholls said they need to bring more trade missions in both directions and laid emphasis on making people aware of the opportunities that Bangladesh offers. “We need to bring more Bangladeshis to Canada as well,” she said. Read: Russia wants to support countries in energy, food security: Ambassador The high commissioner said they never forget that both Canada and Bangladesh are promoters of democracy, diversity of languages and both countries are free traders, multilateralists and peacekeepers. “We have a lot in common.” Nicholls highly appreciated Bangladesh’s efforts in reducing poverty significantly over the past 50 years which she finds unprecedented. “Canada is honoured to be part of that journey with Bangladesh.” “So, as we move forward, we need to work together as we had done in the past. I know we have much more to achieve,” she added.
Terming Bangladesh-Canada relations very strong, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday night urged Canada to invest more in Bangladesh taking advantage of the facilities it offers. "It is time to invest in Bangladesh. It's a good time," Momen said, inviting Canadian investors to invest in Bangladesh.The foreign minister was speaking as the chief guest at an event marking 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also attaches high importance to Bangladesh's relations with Canada. Momen urged Canada to put pressure on Myanmar so that the country takes back its nationals as early as possible. Read more: Momen ‘not worried’ about Japanese Ambassador’s remarks, calls him a ‘simple, good person’ He also urged Canada to come forward for the resettlement of some of the Rohingyas as "Canada has plenty of space." At the event, Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) President Masud Rahman emphasised the signing of a bilateral foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA) to facilitate the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Canada to Bangladesh. He also highlighted the importance of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) for the promotion and expansion of trade. Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries President Md Jashim Uddin and Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Khalilur Rahman also spoke at the event. In 2019, FDI to Bangladesh reached $3.61 billion. FDI inflows to Bangladesh raised by 37 percent year-on-year to $3.43 billion in 2021-2022, a positive development for the economy. The CanCham president said Bangladesh is situated at a geographically advantageous position in close proximity to India and China, both key commercial partners of Canada. "All these have made Bangladesh a very prospective destination of FDI, especially for Canada which has been looking for a profitable, secure investment hub for possible relocation, particularly in Bangladesh," he said. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has also established a country desk for Canada. Read more: Several countries, including Afghanistan, suffered due to foreigners’ role: Momen The main objectives of the Canada Desk are to extend end-to-end support throughout the investment life cycle to address issues relating to FDI from Canada. High Commissioner Lilly Nicholls said this is a very special time for both Canada and Bangladesh.Canada was the first country among the G7 nations which recognised Bangladesh and also supplied food aid after its independence. Nicholls lauded Bangladesh's poverty reduction from 90 percent to nine percent. "We have a lot in common," the high commissioner also said. Canada is a great friend of Bangladesh which supplied a lot of wheat in the early time of independence in 1971, Momen said. Bangladesh needs the Canadian general trade preference facility for Bangladesh even after the graduation to a developing country from the least developed country in 2026, he said. Jashim Uddin said FBCCI is playing a critical role under a joint working group for improving the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. There is an immense opportunity for business between the two countries in leather, agro foods, and blue economy apart from garment items, he also said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said he is not worried about the election-related remarks made by Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki, noting that evil people may take advantage of his simplicity. “He (Naoki) is a simple and good person. He is a good friend of Bangladesh. We are not worried about his remarks,” Momen said while responding to a question after attending an international workshop organized by Association of Surgeons for Sleep Apnoea, Bangladesh in a Dhaka hotel. Regarding the postponement of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s planned visit to Japan, the Foreign Minister said that Bangladesh postponed the visit considering a number issues, including “instability” within the Japanese government. Momen said three influential cabinet members of Japan have resigned recently and they have heard that there will be some proposals in the Japanese parliament regarding Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. “Japan is ready to welcome us… but he (Japanese PM) remains very busy (with internal affairs),” said the foreign minister, adding that mandatory quarantine due to Covid-19 related restrictions is another reason behind the decision. A big business delegation was scheduled to accompany Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to focus on trade and investment issues while Bangladesh will get exemption for only 10 members. It was a two-day visit but it does not make sense if most of the delegation members remain stuck in hotels due to quarantine, Momen said. He said Bangladesh received the invitation more than two years ago but the visit could not materialise due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Japanese side put emphasis on finalisation of the visit again when Foreign Minister Momen visited Japan in September this year. “We wanted to go to Japan this time. They requested us repeatedly. It was finalised. But considering all these things, we have postponed it,” Momen said, adding that the Prime Minister will surely go to Japan as Bangladesh has deep relations with the country. Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki said they will continue to work for the visit because that is “beneficial” for the two countries. He hoped that the visit would elevate the partnership between Bangladesh and Japan to a new height. “We still have big rooms for our development, partnership and cooperation.” Naoki said Bangladesh and Japan need to develop a partnership for the peace, stability and development of the entire Indo-Pacific region. Responding to another question, Momen said Bangladesh has a solid economy and expressed displeasure over some media reports related to the economy describing those as “propaganda.”
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Mantytskiy has said they are looking for opportunities to support the countries in the region in terms of energy and food security despite "artificial restrictions" imposed on Russia. "Russia and IORA Member States not only share civilizational values, but also pursue quite pragmatic interests," he said. Russia is one of the world’s top three oil exporters and it ranks first in natural gas reserves and second in gas production, and this year’s grain harvest could reach a record high of 150 million tons, including about 100 million tons of wheat. The ambassador said maritime security and combating piracy is an important area of common interests. Read more: Russian FM Lavrov’s changed decision on Dhaka visit understandable: Momen Joint exercises with Indian, Chinese and Iranian partners, activities within the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia are aimed at addressing these challenges, he said while speaking at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting held in Dhaka on November 24. "We witness steady growth of the trade turnover: it increased totally by 50% for all IORA Members States last year, and by more than 40% in the first half of this year.We are also implementing joint investment projects," said the Russian envoy. The launch of a plant producing non-carcinogenic (“green”) technological oils for tires, synthetic rubbers and rubber compounds in Malaysia with the capacity of up to 100 thousand tons is one recent example. Mantytskiy said Russian companies participate in major regional energy enterprises: primarily through construction of Rooppur, Kudankulam and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plants in Bangladesh, India and Iran respectively. The use of nuclear technologies for medical purposes is another promising area, he said. A cyclotron radiochemical center for producing isotopes used in disease diagnosis and therapy is under construction in Thailand. Read more: Bangladesh to seek duty cut on exports to growing Russian market: Shahriar As an IORA dialogue partner, Ambassador Mantytskiy said, Russia pays special attention to environmental protection of the Indian Ocean zone. "Our government officials and experts participate in the IORA Working Group on Blue Economy," he said. The Russian Ministry of Economic Development proposed a research on the existing international mechanisms in the field of sustainable use of ocean resources, with further specific recommendations for the Association Members.