Bangladesh engages with world on its own terms: Momen

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Dhaka, June 16: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said Bangladesh engages with the world on its “own term” while Dhaka believes in partnerships with countries for mutual economic benefits.

“We are no longer price takers. We engage with the world on our own terms,” he said.

The foreign minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a seminar titled “Changing Global Order: Securing Bangladesh’s National Interest” Organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at its auditorium in the capital.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh believes in inclusive and sustainable development and it continuously studies the international events and actors.

“When we are discussing the changing global order and securing Bangladesh’s interest, we can visualize a nearly infinite spectrum of scenarios and an equally innumerable set of factors which are constantly changing with each passing moment,” he said.

The foreign minister said Dhaka is ready to engage with everyone who wishes no harm and who would not wish to use Bangladesh’s resources for launching offensive agenda of their own.

“That’s how Bangladesh envisions and leverages its sovereign national interests,” he said.

Dr Momen said the strategic location, the rich demographic dividend and a strong domestic market, makes Bangladesh an important player on the chessboard and “our choices make us a pivot and a pole both”.

He said Bangladesh has the profound dictum of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the windshield, “Friendship to all, malice to none” while the country has the fluidity and the essence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in declaring the goal of resurrecting the ‘Sonar
Bangla’ (the Golden Bangladesh) as sole targeting mechanism.

“But how and when (to achieve goal) remain elusive. Especially with the multiplicity, complicity and exclusivity of certain strategic dimensions which affect our simpler goal of becoming a developed nation by 2041,” he said.

The minister said many new regional and global partnerships are flourishing like Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the APEC, the QUAD, the AUKUS and recent “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework” (IPEF).

“We understand that some of these frameworks are or might be mutually exclusive, but we are also expecting solid economic opportunities to appear from both the frameworks and the fault lines that they create by the more aspirational and often ideational processes being put in place,” he said.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh is now the 40th largest economy in the globe and the second-largest in South Asia, only behind India, while it is projected to be the world’s 28th largest economy by 2030 and the 25th largest economy by
2035.

“We wish to find our complementarities with the global organisations in a way that is congenial to our governance, economic and environmental ambitions,” he said.

He said Bangladesh wants to connect the factors of production seamlessly to their optimal consumption and reduce its dependence on inefficient intermediaries and leverage the power of brands – both foreign and local.

“We wish to connect the agile minds and the nimble hands of the Bangladesh youth – men and women – to the global supply chain solutions,” he said.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh is keen to serve the global markets – both industrial and consumer – in the best ways possible.