Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday asked the Bangladeshi diplomats to pursue economic diplomacy alongside political diplomacy to give a boost to the country’s trade and commerce.
‘The duty of diplomatic missions has changed in today’s world. Now economic diplomacy has surfaced alongside the political one. We have to pursue diplomacy in such a way that we can boost up the country’s trade and commerce and achieve economic self-dependency by working together with all,’ she said.
She simultaneously stressed the need for working in unison to maintain peace on the globe.
The prime minister made the remarks while addressing a commemorative meeting virtually marking the 46th anniversary of delivering maiden speech in Bangla by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the United Nations General Assembly.
She also inaugurated the newly constructed Foreign Service Academy building and unveiled cover of two books: ‘Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina, and the United Nations: Bangladesh at the World Stage’ and ‘Bangagandhu: The People’s Hero’ published by the foreign ministry, at the same function.
She attended the meeting from her official Ganabhaban residence while the dean of the diplomatic corps, envoys of different countries and others concerned got connected from the Foreign Service Academy in the premises of Sugandha in Dhaka through a video conference.
The foreign ministry organised the function from the Foreign Service Academy.
Mentioning that all are dependent on one another in the world, she said, ‘We expect assistance from all. Likewise, if any country needs help from us, we are ready to do so.’
Turning to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, ‘I wish the world will get relief from the coronavirus pandemic and the wheels of the economy will again start functioning and thus all can live their normal life. And for that reason the entire world should work together.’
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, MP, readout the keynote speech while state minister for foreign affairs ministry Md Shahriar Alam, MP, the UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo and foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen spoke on the occasion.
In the function, rector of the Foreign Service Academy ambassador Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker made a brief presentation on the newly constructed building.
Two audio-visual presentations were screened on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s maiden speech in the UNGA delivered in Bangla and Bangabandhu’s first office in Sugandha depicting the early days of the government of Bangladesh as a nascent state was also made at the function.
Bangabandhu was the first Bangalee who made history by delivering the first Bangla speech at the UNGA on 25 September in 1974.
The prime minister wished that the foreign ministry would be more efficient and achieve more success in the diplomatic arena in the days to come.
She said the newly built Foreign Service Academy will impart training not only to the diplomats but also the concerned officials and employees.
In this connection Sheikh Hasina said, ‘When we assumed office in 1996, there was no proper training institute for foreign service despite having diplomatic missions abroad. We decided to build two training institutes, one for judicial service and another for foreign service.’
Regarding September 25, 1974, she said, ‘This is a historically important day for us. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave the maiden speech before the UNGA in Bangla as prime minister of a newly independent country.’
The prime minister said that if anyone goes through the Mujib’s speech at the UNGA, he or she will find it still relevant for today as the world is now working for changing the lot of the people affected in natural calamities, ensuring justice and socio-economic development of the people.
In the speech, Mujib also called for togetherness of the entire world to save the people from various pandemic diseases, she said.
The premier said the most important thing that Sheikh Mujib gave the nation was the foreign policy – ‘friendship to all, malice to none’, adding that her government has been working with the policy since assuming office.
‘We are heading towards the socio-economic development of the country’s people with maintaining friendship to all,’ she continued.
In this context, she said it is necessary to take help from others for the country’s development as the world is now a global village.
The prime minister said, ‘It was a great success for us to acquire membership in the United Nations. Not only that, Bangladesh had also achieved recognition from 126 countries and all the international organisations including OIC and Commonwealth during the regime of Bangabandhu.’
Mentioning that Bangladesh wants to maintain peace in the world, Sheikh Hasina said the country’s armed forces and police have been deployed in the UN peacekeeping missions in many troubled countries and they played a significant role in restoring peace there.
Regarding facing natural calamities due to geographical location, she said Bangladesh is a small area of 54,000sq miles with a huge population and it has to face natural disasters like flood, cyclone and tidal surge regularly alongside manmade disasters.
The government has considered its huge population as resources as Bangladesh doesn’t have many resources, she continued.