Dhaka: The United Kingdom has pledged to work together with Bangladesh for bolstering trade, economic and security cooperation.
“We attach high importance to Bangladesh and a major focus of our relations with the South Asian country in the coming days will be to strengthen trade, economic and security cooperation,” said Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field on Thursday.
He made the comments while receiving the newly-appointed Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem at his office in London, according to a message received on Friday.
Recalling his earlier visits to Bangladesh, Minister Field reaffirmed his personal commitment to further deepening London-Dhaka ties, especially given his longstanding engagements with the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and the British-Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK.
Commending Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for inducting young politicians in her new cabinet following her party’s landslide victory in the December 30 general elections, the minister hoped to see Bangladesh move forward towards greater growth and prosperity.
At the meeting, Bangladesh’s new High Commissioner Tasneem renewed the commitment of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in its new term to taking Dhaka-London relations to a new level of strategic and economic partnership.
She expressed her resolve to unfold new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation in Bangladesh-UK relations.
Tasneem also briefed Minister Field that a major focus of her tenure in the UK would be to boost and diversify Bangladesh’s bilateral trade with the UK, attract greater British investments in mega infrastructure projects, energy, IT and service sector in Bangladesh, and enhance strategic level cooperation including in defence, security and regional connectivity.
The envoy put forward a number of proposals towards creating a strong and vibrant culture and sports connectivity between the two Commonwealth nations specially through cricket, football, curry industry and the talented new generations of the British-Bangladeshi community in the UK.
Minister Field lauded the extraordinary educational achievements of successive generations of British-Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK, including those from his own constituency, reports BSS.
Reiterating the UK’s deep appreciation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s humanitarian support and refuge to nearly 1.1 million Rohingya people, the UK minister underscored the need for ‘their voluntary, dignified, viable and sustainable return’ to Myanmar through involvement of UN agencies.
Tasneem reassured the UK that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her new term would continue to uphold the ‘principles of non- refoulement’ and ‘humanitarianism’ and ensure a voluntary, safe and sustainable return of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals that fled to Bangladesh to escape persecutions in Myanmar.
The minister reiterated that the UK would continue to play its leadership role in the UN Security Council and bilaterally with Bangladesh in ensuring prevention of human rights violations and alleged ‘genocide’ of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
He also appreciated Bangladesh for its leadership role in the UN Peacekeeping and recognised the sacrifice made by Bangladeshi peacekeepers for global peace.
The High Commissioner discussed with Minister Field a proposal for celebrating 50 years of Bangladesh-UK relations in 2021 which was hallmarked by the warm welcoming of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by the-then British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath during Bangabandhu’s historic homecoming to Dhaka via London in January, 1972.
Senior officials of Bangladesh High Commission in London, including Defence Attach‚ Brigadier General AKM Aminul Haque, Commercial Counsellor SM Jakaria Huq and First Secretary Md Shafiul Alam, were present at the meeting.