Heaping praise on Japan for its contribution to Bangladesh's development, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has said further bilateral cooperation is crucial for this country to graduate to a developing nation.
"Now Bangladesh and Japan are working towards a strategic partnership to reach an even higher level of bilateral relationship," she said at an event in Dhaka marking the National Day of Japan on Tuesday night.
Prime Minister's Advisor Salman Rahman, Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki were also present.
Since 1972, Bangladesh has received the largest Official Development Assistance from Japan, making the East Asian country its largest bilateral development partner.
Japanese contribution has been of vital importance in the areas of infrastructure and human resource development, agriculture, education, water resource management and disaster management, to name a few.
“As trusted partners and peace-loving nations, we have always worked together and supported each other to promote global peace and prosperity," Dipu Moni said.
Further cooperation from Japan is even more crucial for Bangladesh to shed its least developed country status and graduate to a developing nation, the Education Minister said.
On his part, Japanese Ambassador Naoki said, “The Emperor says, let us share the pain. Let us cooperate together. I look forward to a bright future ahead of us as we overcome the pandemic with patience."
Though the pandemic affected the daily lives of all, the year 2020 saw further strengthening of relations between Japan and Bangladesh, said the Ambassador.
"Japan supported Bangladesh in its fight against the pandemic and provided for the first time a budgetary support of US$ 330 million (approx) in August last year," he said.
He also mentioned that last August, he signed the largest ever annual yen-loan package of approximately US$ 3.2 billion for BIG-B’s quality infrastructure projects.
"From this milestone year until 2025, we will see completion of those JICA’s mega projects. Dhaka MRT Line 6 will be partially opened in December," said the Ambassador.
After that, the Special Economic Zone in Araihazar, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport extention, Matarbari Deep seaport and power stations, and Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will start operating one after another, he said.
Those are essential for the growth of Bangladesh fulfilling its potentials, and will change the face of the nation once they are completed, the Ambassador said.
Japan will continue to extend its support to Bangladesh’s development as much as possible, bearing in mind it also leads to the overall stability and prosperity of the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific region, "which are conducive to realise our common vision of Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)", he added.
Source: United News of Bangladesh