Bangladesh-UK to hold first defence dialogue in March
Bangladesh will hold its first ever defence dialogue with the UK in March this year as the two countries seek to take the bilateral relationship to a strategic level for the shared objectives of prosperity and security.
Bangladesh High Commission said this during a virtual commemorative event on Friday to celebrate Bangladesh-UK 50 years of diplomatic relations.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem, said Dhaka and London are discussing various ways of strengthening cooperation including defence, security, trade and climate change.
She said, "Bangladesh's geostrategic importance in the Bay of Bengal and in the Indian Ocean complemented by its growing economic prosperity over the past decade makes it a deserving candidate to become Britain's trusted friend and ally in realising the region's sustainable peace, security and prosperity."
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to London in November last year, the issue of defence purchase was discussed with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
At that time, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen had told this correspondent that Bangladesh decided in principle to buy five naval ships from the UK with the objectives being monitoring and protecting Bangladesh's huge sea frontiers from others who enter the territories for fishing or other purposes.
He also said that two of the naval ships will be built in Bangladesh with technical support from the UK.
At the event on Friday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh was diversifying its defence purchase from mainly Asian countries to the Western countries.
Senior Fellow for South Asia of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Rahul Roy Chaudhury said UK government needs to significantly increase its security, defence, counter terrorism, counter extremism, counter radicalisation, and intelligence cooperation with Bangladesh.
UK FCDO Minister for South and Central Asia Lord Ahmad said the UK has stood by Bangladesh for the past 50 years through good times and bad times and will continue to remain its trusted friend and partner also in the next 50 years.
Rushanara Ali, MP, chair of the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and UK's Trade Envoy for Bangladesh; Lord Karan Bilimoria, president of the Confederation of British Industry among others spoke.