Bangladesh needs to focus further on unilateral efforts to tackle the maritime issues in the region centring Bay of Bengal in context of geo-political competition, speakers at a conference said yesterday.
They also opined that cooperation between two big neighbours -- India and China -- will benefit all countries in this region.
Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (Bilia) organised the daylong international conference at the auditorium of its headquarters in Dhaka.
“Despite different narratives, the relationship between India and China is growing very well with $100 billion trade [annually]. We hope, as the two countries create a friendly relationship, we all will be benefited from it,” Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of Bangladesh International Institute of Strategic Studies (BIISS) said as the chair of the first session of the conference.
Chaired by Dr Shahdeen Malik, honorary director of Bilia, Rear Admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, secretary (maritime affairs uni) of the foreign ministry, spoke at the opening session as chief guest.
Md Khurshed Alam opined that the settlement of maritime dispute with neighbouring India and Myanmar, and formulation of Indo Pacific Strategy have increased the importance of Bay of Bengal.
“In future the ocean will dominate our policy formulation, so Bangladesh can be ocean-centric rather than just being a riverine country,” he said.
Academicians from different universities in Bangladesh and India presented a total of ten papers in three sessions at the conference.