PM for global efforts to repatriate Rohingyas for regional stability

Dhaka Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the

world community to take appropriate measures for sustainable repatriation of

the Rohingyas for regional security and development, saying peace and harmony

are essential for the prosperity of the region.

In terms of regional security, I would like to say that more than 1.1

million Rohingya citizens of Myanmar fled to Bangladesh in the face of

persecution and they are a threat to the security not only for Bangladesh but

also for the region. I urge the world community to take appropriate action

realizing the gravity of the threat, she said.

She was addressing while opening the three-day Dhaka Global Dialogue-

2019 at a hotel here this morning.

Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and

Observer Research Foundation, India are jointly organising the function.

Over 150 delegates from over 50 countries are taking part in the dialogue

to discuss, ideate and debate the most pressing global imperatives.

The premier added: It will not possible to ensure development and

prosperity of any country without having peace and safety.

She called upon all the countries of the region of the Asia-Pacific and

Indian Ocean for their collective efforts to this end.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, President of Observer Research

Foundation, India Dr Samir Saran and Director General of Bangladesh Institute

of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Major General AKM Abdur

Rahman, also spoke at the function.

A video documentary titled Bangladesh were tomorrow belong was also

screened on the occasion.

Sheikh Hasina said, The present century is being considered as the

'Century of Asia' in terms of socio-economic development and prosperity.

The premier however stressed the need for maintaining peace and harmony

for the prosperity of the region.

Terming poverty as the main enemy of the region, she said, Therefore, the

main goal of all our activities should be directed to eradicate people's

poverty and ensure their comfortable lives.

About importance of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal for economic

progress and development of the region, the prime minister said, The

economies of the countries ashore of or dependent on the Indian Ocean and the

Bay of Bengal, and the lives of their peoples, are hugely influenced by the

ocean and the sea.

Therefore, peace and stability in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal

is essential for the economic progress and security of these countries as the

resources, environment, ecology and security of the ocean and the sea

directly affect the economy and the security of these nations, she

continued.

The premier said, there are 40 developing countries surrounding the Indian

Ocean, where 35 per cent of the global population lives while six countries

surrounding the Bay of Bengal, and few more countries like Nepal, Bhutan, the

Maldives, Malaysia and Singapore have important impact of the Bay on their

economies despite not being at the coast.

She stated that half of the global container shipment and 80 percent of

global fuel trade passes through the Indian Ocean while 16.8 percent of the

global reserve of oil and 27.9 percent of natural gas is situated in this

Ocean.

The Ocean consists of a number of vital maritime routes, which contribute

significantly to the largest economies of Asia while 28 percent of the total

fisheries are collected from Indian Ocean, she said.

She also said there are various unconventional threats such as piracy,

armed robbery, terrorist attacks in coastal and maritime areas, human

trafficking, arm and drug smuggling, in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of

Bengal region.

The premier called upon all concerned countries to strengthen bilateral and

multilateral cooperation as well as partnerships to resolve all these

problems.

Bangladesh believes that such cooperation is needed to be inclusive for

all and with the aim of everyone's development and security. Bangladesh

always exerts strong efforts to enhance peaceful and cooperative relations in

the region of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, she said.

The premier said Bangladesh became role model for other countries as it

peacefully resolved the maritime disputes and land boundary agreement with

neighbouring Myanmar and India.

She advocated for cooperative, amicable, dignified and equitable

relationship between coastal countries to extract maritime resources

sustainably for the development of the 'Blue Economy'.

But, the premier expressed her stance against excessive extraction of

marine resources, including fisheries and pollutions which are jeopardizing

the maritime environment.

Pollution and excessive extraction of marine resources are destroying the

ecologies in the sea, damaging the overall environment of the world. As a

result, threats are being created for human health and livelihood. It is not

possible to resolve these crises by a single country, she said.

In this context, she said that every year, 8 million tons of plastic

wastes are being gathered in the oceans and seas in the world.

Geographically Bangladesh is a country ashore of the Bay of Bengal, and as

such of the Indian Ocean, the premier said, adding, As an offshore country,

the sea plays an extremely important role in Bangladesh's economy, and for

many reasons Bangladesh puts high priority to the Indian Ocean as well as Bay

of Bengal.

The premier firstly stressed the need for security and stability of

maritime routes for maintaining economic stability of Bangladesh as 90

percent of total external trade of Bangladesh is conducted through maritime

routes.

She said secondly the utilization of maritime resources for the economic

development of the country largely depends on the stability of the region as

Bangladesh's absolute sovereignty has been established over an area of

1,18,813 square km in the Bay of Bengal including 200 nautical miles, after

reconciliation of maritime boundaries with Myanmar in 2012 and with India in

2014.

Thirdly, apart from natural gas, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean contain

huge amount of fisheries as well as mineral and other resources, she added.

The premier said a study shows that the tentative amount of resources that

can be collected from the maritime area of Bangladesh, is almost equal to the

tentative amount of resources Bangladesh produces in its land.

Referring to the main principle of Bangladesh's foreign policy Friendship

to all, malice to none, she said that Bangladesh follows the same policy in

the area of maritime boundary and maritime economy.

The premier said Bangladesh, due to its geographical location, is acting

as a bridge between South Asia and South-East Asia.

In this context, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur

Rahman emphasized global peace and security for human welfare.

The premier hoped Dhaka Global Dialogue will act as a platform for the

countries in this region on the way of achieving environmentally sustainable

peace and prosperity.

Spelling out various measures for the development in various sector

particularly in education, health, infrastructure development, climate change

adaptation and digital Bangladesh, the premier said, Nowadays, Bangladesh is

very often being termed as a 'Miracle of Development' in the international

arena. Today Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in the

world.

She said according to the World Bank, Bangladesh stands second in Asia and

fifth in the world among the fastest growing economies while as per the IMF,

Bangladesh has 30th largest GDP in the world in terms of PPP, adding, This

year economy of Bangladesh has exceeded 300 billion dollar mark.

The premier said her government has been relentlessly working to make

Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country free from hunger and poverty as

dreamt by the Father of the Nation.

We have undertaken 'Vision 2021' and 'Vision 2041' to be a 'Middle Income

Country' by 2021 and a 'Developed-Prosperous Nation' by 2041, she added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)