Bangladesh, Australia pledge to strengthen ties on 50th anniversary of relations


Dhaka, Feb 01: Bangladesh and Australia have pledged to strengthen bonds of friendship on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have issued separate goodwill messages on Monday highlighting the existing strong bonds of friendship and for directions for the relationship between the two friendly countries.

Australian High Commission here hosted a reception on Monday night marking the occasion at the Hotel Purbani which was the inaugural location of Australia’s diplomatic mission in 1972.

During the reception, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer highlighted respective government’s commitment to further foster bilateral engagement.

They reiterated the two countries cooperation on COVID-19 recovery, trade and investment, education, technology and innovation and meaningful partnership to face regional and global challenges such as climate change, forced displacement and regional security.

Alam expressed gratitude for the Australia’s bipartisan support for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.

He paid deep respect to the Dutch-Australian Mr. William A S Ouderland, who valiantly fought beside freedom fighters in Bangladesh’s war of independence and was the lone foreign national decorated with gallantry award- Bir Protik.

He also recalled the contributions of Australians like Dr. Geofrey Davis, Herbert Feith and Anthony Clifton to the War of Liberation in 1971.

The state minister thanked Australia for being the first country in the developed world to recognize Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state on 31 January 1972.

He recalled the visit of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to Bangladesh in January 1975 during which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Whitlam secured an enduring friendship between the two peoples based on shared commitment to peace, pluralism, and dignity of people.

He also thanked Australia for its assistance in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Bangladesh and continued socio-economic support to us in the following decades.

Alam stated that Bangladesh looks forward to emerging as a key partner of Australia for the benefits of the people of the two countries and economies as well as regional security.

Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer stated that Australia also looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Bangladesh for shared recovery from the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as expanding business relationship between the two countries.

He said, on this day 50 years ago Australia’s Foreign Minister, Nigel Bowen, announced that “Australia had recognised the government led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the government of the new state of Bangladesh”. We’re very proud that Australia was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Bangladesh in January, 1972.

High Commissioner Bruer and State Minister Alam unveiled a plaque indicating the inaugural location of Australia’s diplomatic mission in 1972 at the Purbani Hotel.

Bruer also presented to Alam a framed copy of the Australian Cabinet minute dated 25 January 1972 recording the Australian Government’s decision to recognise the government of Bangladesh, and a Department of Foreign Affairs Press Release from 31 January 1972 announcing Australia’s recognition of Bangladesh.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen also joined the event.

Earlier, on that day Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer paid tribute to those who gave their lives in the struggle for independence at the National Martyrs’ Memorial.