Monday, June 17, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Friendship to all and malice towards none

Bangladesh’s approach to diplomacy deserves praise

Update : 08 Mar 2024, 03:25 PM

In an era where interconnectedness defines global dynamics, Bangladesh, with a nuanced and proactive approach, has been skillfully navigating the complex waters of international relations, solidifying its presence on the global stage. With the country’s recent participation in the Munich conference or its presence at multilateral forums such as COP28 last year, Bangladesh's diplomatic prowess is unfolding.

Bangladesh has relations with the G7 nations in the West and ventures on the positive sides of both Russia and China. The country has also created welcoming and hospitable relations in its neighbourhood while building mutually beneficial partnerships with the Gulf nations. Such commitment to multilateral diplomacy is a testament to its vision of fostering collaboration and understanding among nations.

The journey towards multilateral diplomacy of Bangladesh began with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's visionary decision. He recognized that Bangladesh must imply diplomacy to get its recognition from others as a sovereign country. 

After independence, the foreign policy under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman introduced economic diplomacy to heal the war-torn economy. This resulted in pragmatic practices in foreign policy where Bangladesh entered a food assistance program with the United States despite the latter being opposed to the former’s independence. Today’s Bangladesh still carries Bangabandhu's legacy of multilateralism, shown in its active engagement in regional and international platforms.

For an emerging economy like Bangladesh, multilateral diplomacy creates huge opportunities on one hand while on the other, it poses enormous challenges. Bangladesh till date has balanced this equilibrium impressively. 

Currently, Bangladesh is the 34th largest economy in the world and is expected to be 20th by 2037. Bangladesh is now the second largest economy in the region of South Asia, which is expected to reach $1,628 billion by 2037. 2023 also marked the reckoning of the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Bangladesh. 14 mega infrastructure projects have been completed or advanced within the year. 

Leveraging its emerging economic power, geo-political position, and strength of multilateral diplomacy, Bangladesh has also shown bravery in announcing its priority to the world on many occasions. The Rohingya crisis has been a litmus test for Bangladesh's diplomatic acumen and the country has sought international support to address the root causes of the crisis in all of its international platforms including last year’s 78th United Nations General Assembly. 

Bangladesh maintained the same courageous voice in Munich Security Conference 2024 when PM Hasina called for an immediate end to all hostilities, illegal occupations, and inhuman killings of unarmed people, especially women and children, in Gaza and the rest of the world. One striking aspect of Bangladesh's multilateral diplomacy is its emphasis on inclusivity. The nation has always welcomed building bridges between developed and developing countries, fostering alliances that transcend traditional boundaries. 

Bangladesh's presence in international conferences exemplifies a diplomatic finesse that transcends its geographical size. With eloquence and purpose, Bangladesh engages in meaningful discourse on pressing global matters. Whether the topic is sustainable development, human rights, or peace initiatives, Bangladesh not only contributes substantially but also emerges with its pragmatic diplomacy. In these forums, the nation not only advocates for its interests but also passionately champions the cause of global collaboration, showcasing a commitment to fostering a world where shared values and cooperative efforts pave the way for a more interconnected and harmonious future.

Sadia Aktar Korobi is a freelance contributor.

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