PM in Paris: Bangladesh, France sign letter of intent on defence cooperation
Bangladesh and France have signed a letter of intent on defence cooperation to further develop the defence and security component of their partnership.
"To that end, both countries agreed to strengthen dialogue and continue their cooperation, in particular the area of training, which was launched during this visit," according to a statement issued by the office of the French President Emmanuel Macron.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in Paris yesterday after joining the COP26 in Glasgow. She was accorded a warm reception at Elysee Palace on the first day of her five-day visit to France.
The Presidential Guard gave the Prime Minister salute on her arrival at the Presidential Palace. PM Hasina and French President Macron hosted a luncheon meeting and tete-a-tete.
Later, PM Hasina had a bilateral meeting with French Prime Minister Jean Castex at his official residence.
According to a joint statement today, Dhaka and Paris committed to stepping up cooperation in the area of defence equipment based on the needs expressed and each party's ability to respond to them, including through capacity building and potential technology transfer.
In March last year, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly during a meeting with PM Hasina in Dhaka had proposed to sell Rafale manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
The joint statement also says France and Bangladesh shared the same vision for a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and with shared prosperity for all.
"Taking note of the French and European strategies concerning the Indo-Pacific, both parties agreed to work towards promoting regional peace and stability and to explore further opportunities for cooperation in maritime security and blue economy," it said.
Highlighting their commitment to fully observe the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes, refraining from any threat or use of force, they stated the importance of maintaining security and freedom of navigation and overflight in all seas and oceans.
France and Bangladesh noted the significant pressure caused by the Rohingya crisis on Bangladesh and underscored the need to ensure funding for the UN's joint response plan for the Rohingya in Bangladesh and enable their voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return to Myanmar as soon as possible.
In this regard, Bangladesh highlighted the potential security risks from the crisis for the region, and urged the international community to play a constructive role to resolve the crisis.
Both countries expressed their determination to strengthen economic, trade and investment cooperation and to continue their shared efforts to improve market access for their respective companies.
They reaffirmed their desire to strengthen long-term economic and industrial partnerships, including in the sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, transport, energy and digital technology.
Dhaka and Paris also signed credit facility agreements on health systems strengthening and water treatment plants.
The high-level discussions also covered upgrading of bilateral relations, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations which both countries will celebrate next year and major international and regional issues.
Both sides recalled the historic leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Bangladesh acknowledged the valuable support of the government and people of the Republic of France during the War of Liberation in 1971.
France and Bangladesh highlighted their shared will to develop and deepen all aspects of their partnership, including politics, diplomacy, trade and investment, climate change, education, through regular political consultations for strategic guidance.
Both the countries committed to increase their cooperation and dialogue with a view to actively contributing to strengthening connectivity in South Asia in order to facilitate exchanges between Europe and Asia and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
They reaffirmed that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is one of the most serious threats to global peace and security and that all terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable.
Both countries, therefore, jointly expressed their support for counter-terrorism efforts and agreed to enhance their cooperation, including under the aegis of the United Nations.
France complimented Bangladesh on being recommended by the UN to graduate from the LDC in 2026.
Acknowledging Bangladesh's submission of the National Plan of Action on the Labour Sector to the European Union, France stressed the need for its comprehensive implementation and encouraged Bangladesh to pursue its export-led growth and economic diversification, including by leveraging the appropriate trade preferences under the European Union's GSP regulations.
Furthermore, both countries underlined their commitment to liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment and their commitment to the role of the World Trade Organization.
They expressed their wish to strengthen their cooperation in order to improve the global governance mechanism and stimulate sustainable economic recovery and growth from the Covid-19 pandemic.