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Dhaka Tribune

Shahriar Alam stresses regional connectivity at India-Japan conclave in Agartala

Bangladesh envisions a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific, the state minister for foreign affairs says

Update : 12 Apr 2023, 09:05 AM

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has emphasized deepening relations in the region for shared prosperity through regional connectivity where the Bay of Bengal is the common strategic interlocutor. 

He was speaking at the Third India-Japan Intellectual Conclave, held at Agartala jointly organized by Assam-based influential think tank Asian Confluence, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Bangladesh Mission in Agartala and the Embassy of Japan in India. 

The state minister gratefully recalled the crucial role played by India particularly the people of Tripura during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 that Bangladesh waged under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Shahriar Alam highlighted the transformative changes in the bilateral ties between Bangladesh and India in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always advocated regional and sub-regional cooperation. 

With its advantageous geographic location between South and South East Asia, and the Bay of Bengal to the south, Bangladesh was working to establish itself as the regional hub of connectivity. 

He said the implementation of the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity would be instrumental for further economic development in the region. 

Shahriar Alam described big infrastructural projects of Bangladesh such as the Padma Bridge, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel under the Karnaphuli, the Matarbari deep sea port, the Payra deep sea port, the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Padma Bridge Rail Link Project as engines of growth of the region.  

The state minister said Bangladesh envisions a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific which was a core area of global politics and a key determinant of the long-term prosperity of the South Asian Region. 

An important constituent of the Indo-Pacific, the Bay of Bengal can change the fate of the greater Bay of Bengal community including South Asia, he said. 

The state minister elaborated on how the connection of North East India with mainland India and access to the Bay of Bengal using Bangladesh territory and her seaports would bring phenomenal change in the prosperity to the region. 

He appreciated the greater involvement of Japan in undertaking the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt for infrastructural development in Bangladesh.   

The state minister called upon the political leadership of this region at all levels to be visionary about the bright prospect. 

He emphasized that greater benefits of the people should not be allowed to be held hostage to political considerations. He expected that Bangladesh's neighbour would reciprocate the way Bangladesh is coming forth to allow her territory for use by her neighbours. 

State Minister Shahriar Alam was speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day-long event as a special guest together with Indian Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region, Culture and Tourism Shri G Kishan Reddy; Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh; Industries and Commerce and Welfare of OBCs Minister of Tripura Smt Santana Chakma; and Japanese Ambassador to India Hiroshi Suzuki. 

State Minister Shahriar Alam is expected to meet Tripura Chief Minister Prof Manik Saha before he returns to Dhaka.

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