The message for South Asia

In March 2014, Male decided to close his high commission office in Dhaka due to the reduction in the annual budget. At that time, Dhaka offered to pay the rent for the Maldivian Embassy office and take care of other local official expenses in Dhaka. Although the Maldives politely rejected this offer, it does imply the closeness and depth of relations between these two South Asian countries.

Recently, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and his entourage completed their first six day visit in the Maldives 6n the invitation of the President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. It is the need of the hour to analyze the meaning of this visit and to deepen the message it conveys.

The visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to this island country reflects the importance he attaches to this bilateral relationship as a long-standing friend. It is an effort on the side of Bangladesh to deepen ties with the countries of South Asia that is necessary for the country’s aspiration to become a “middle power”. But there are many critical issues, equally important to both countries, that could have been addressed to make the visit more successful. As the two countries have similar religious values, cultural practices and development aspirations, they should have declared a clearly defined plan on how they will cooperate with each other in the coming days to bring the links to a new one. plan of the bilateral equation.

The diplomatic relations journey between Bangladesh and the Maldives began on September 22, 1978. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed a warm bilateral relationship with cooperation in trade, investment, security and military assistance. In order to encourage bilateral trade, the Government of Maldives removed the duty on Bangladeshi products in 2011. And this translates into an increase in Bangladeshi exports, especially pharmaceuticals, to the Maldives. Many Bangladeshi migrants, about 70,000 to 80,000, work in the Maldives as expatriates who directly contribute to Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves. During the covid-19 pandemic, the Bangladesh Navy sent more than 100 metric tons of food and pharmaceutical products in the Maldives and the Bangladesh Air Force actively participated in the covid-19 vaccination program in 2021.

The visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to the Maldives is important not only for Bangladesh and the Maldives, but also for other countries in South Asia, for a number of reasons. First, this visit will strengthen existing bilateral relations on trade, connectivity, investment, agriculture, information and communication technologies, human resource development, culture and community well-being, because the leaders of the two States maintain dialogues attaching the utmost importance to these questions. Second, the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the recruitment of qualified health professionals will open a career window for the practitioners concerned. On the one hand, it will generate foreign exchange for Bangladesh by creating jobs for Bangladeshi healthcare professionals and on the other hand, it will improve the entire healthcare sector in Maldives. And this is how it will create a win-win situation for both countries.

Third, the Double Tax Elimination Agreement will ensure that honest taxpayers do not have to pay tax in two countries for the same income. This will effectively promote FDI in both countries by motivating foreign investors. Fourth, Bangladesh has donated 13 military vehicles, as a sign of friendship, to the Maldives, which will enhance security cooperation and strengthen brotherly ties between the security forces of those countries. Fifth, Bangladesh signed an agreement to provide a loan of $ 200 million to the Maldives during the visit. This is the second time that Bangladesh has lent to a country, after Sri Lanka, which once again proves the economic growth and financial power of Bangladesh in this region. Besides, it also shows how to hold hands of close friends during their critical moments.

Sixth, the decision to cooperate in youth and sports development will go a long way in improving this sector by encouraging young people to actively participate in sports and by sponsoring local sports related organizations. Seventh, from now on, citizens of Maldives will benefit from visa-free entry to Bangladesh, which will not only increase interpersonal connectivity, but also increase trade volume and promote Bangladesh tourism sector. Eighth, the agreement on the transfer of “sentenced prisoners” will also help these countries to bring the perpetrators back to their lands for justice. Finally, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh declared that Biman Bangladesh Airlines is ready to launch air connectivity with the Maldives, which will increase bilateral trade and investment and subsequently have a positive long-term impact on the livelihoods of the inhabitants. of these countries.

This century is remarkable for minimizing geographic distance by removing visible and invisible trade barriers. As “maritime neighbors”, Bangladesh and the Maldives may have discussed a free trade agreement (FTA) to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to bilateral trade that artificially impede the free flow of goods and services. services. In addition, they could have designed a roadmap to improve “maritime connectivity” by creating opportunities for the Maldives to use different seaports in Bangladesh. The two countries may have strengthened their cooperation to obtain the optimum return from the “blue economy” by using marine resources such as oil, gas, sand, fish, seafood, minerals, sand and other resources. gravel, renewable energies, etc. As climate-vulnerable countries, they could have planned to work together to address the climate crisis.

The visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to this island country reflects the importance he attaches to this bilateral relationship as a long-standing friend. It is an effort on the side of Bangladesh to deepen ties with the countries of South Asia that is necessary for the country’s aspiration to become a “middle power”. But there are many critical issues, equally important to both countries, that could have been addressed to make the visit more successful. As the two countries have similar religious values, cultural practices and development aspirations, they should have declared a clearly defined plan on how they will cooperate with each other in the coming days to bring the links to a new one. plan of the bilateral equation.


Source link

Comments are closed.