‘Time to expand ties beyond South Asia, Asean states’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 29, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 29, 2008

‘Time to expand ties beyond South Asia, Asean states’

Foreign Adviser Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury yesterday called for greater cooperation among Asian nations to foster development and peace, and establish a culture of pluralism.
“We must evolve a methodology for cooperation and how we can move forward together…Japan, China and India will lead and others will follow,” he said, speaking at a post-dinner speech at Spectra Convention Centre in the city.
The Daily Star hosted the dinner in honour of the visiting members of Asia News Network (ANN). Editors or their representatives from different newspapers from across Asia attended the programme.
“We should now concentrate on cooperation beyond South Asia and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries,” the adviser told the gathering also attended by former government officials, local journalists, civil society members and businessmen.
Almost all the Asian nations' growth rate ranges from 6 to 10 percent and it is a huge market, Iftekhar Chowdhury said, adding that this region has many home-grown ideas to share with the rest of the globe.
Referring to the concept of microcredit and non-formal education, he said these ideas originated in Bangladesh, but are now being copied in many parts of the globe.
The foreign adviser said Bangladesh has a vibrant civil society and media that are creating social mobility and helping gradual transformation of the society.
The country believes in its sovereignty and at the same time maintains good relations with the neighbouring countries, regional bodies, and international communities. It works relentlessly in the peace building processes of the world, he said. “This is a key feature of our diplomatic policies.”
“In today's world, Bangladesh can be a good example of nation-building and peace-keeping,” he observed.
He said the country, however, wants to reduce its external dependency and take decisions without external influences.
“We recently experienced that self-sufficiency in food is very important,” he said.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star and chairman of ANN, and Werner vom Busch, director of media programme Asia, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, also spoke on the occasion. ANN is financially supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

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