Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz at Royal Palace of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

By Dr. Mohammad Javed Patwary, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia
Bangladesh embassy celebrates national day

Bangladesh will celebrate March 26, 2023 as the 53rd independence and national day of the country. On this auspicious occasion, I convey my heartfelt congratulations and warm greetings to our respected members of the Bangladesh community living in Saudi Arabia.

On this momentous occasion, I respectfully remember our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under whose prudent leadership we achieved our Independence in 1971 through a nine-month long liberation war. I also pay tribute to all the valiant freedom fighters for their supreme sacrifices for the independence of our motherland. My deep respect goes to the martyrs of the Liberation War and all those millions of people who withstood all the suffering in that war.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Prime Minister and Crown Prince His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman for their able leadership and contribution to Muslim Ummah and visionary leadership to realize Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030”. 

Bangladesh enjoys warm bilateral relations with the Kingdom since the inception of our diplomatic relations in 1975. The excellent relations between Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are attributed to the fact that both countries share common perspectives, Islamic values, global peace and harmony, and commitment to concerted bilateral cooperation toward advancing economic activities and issues of mutual interest. 

Our Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina undertook five official visits to the Kingdom between June 2016 to May 2019. All these visits created a new dimension in our bilateral relations. His Majesty King Salman termed “Bangladesh a top Islamic country in respect of its relationship” during the meeting with Bangladesh's Prime Minister in 2016 as well as in 2018. Since 2019, nineteen ministerial visits from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia and five ministerial visits from Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh took place. 

Moreover, 13 bilateral agreements/MoUs were signed at the government level during this time. This signifies the depth of our relations and the shared future we have on many issues including security, trade, investment, education, health, agriculture, climate change and environmental protection, and manpower. Bangladesh is a role model for the developing world in poverty reduction, achieving success in health and education, and fighting climate change with UN accolades. 

We are pleased that Bangladesh qualifies for LDC graduation. We now look forward to graduating in 2026. Bangladesh is the only LDC among the world’s 50 largest economies in terms of GDP. Our march towards graduation is also marked by our efforts at just, inclusive and sustainable development. We have cut down the poverty rate from 31.5 to 20% within a decade. We are internationally recognized for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation. 

Our social protection measures constitute 16.75% of our total budget. We rank top in South Asia in reducing gender disparity. Our literacy rate stands at 75.2%, with near universal primary education enrolment. The average life expectancy of our people is now more than 73 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy proved its resilience by growing at 7.10% even in 2021-22. Per capita income grew three-fold in a decade and has reached USD 2,824. Our vision now is to build a ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by 2041, drawing strength from a knowledge-based society. 

For several decades, Bangladesh has been meeting the need for workers in several work streams in the Saudi labour market. The Bangladeshi migrant community has established their credentials longer-term, and working with a considerable appreciation of the Saudi people. In the process, they are also a part of contemporary Saudi economic growth and Bangladesh is ready to contribute to realizing Saudi economic vision 2030. 

Bangladesh is a peace-loving country. The foreign policy of the country is founded on the motto ‘friendship to all, malice to none’ as set by our Father of the Nation. Today, Bangladesh is the top troops contributing country for UN peacekeeping operations around the globe. We have been nominated as the Vice Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission for 2023 and have been playing an active role in peacebuilding in war-torn countries for the international order for the protection and promotion of the interest of all nations. 

We have resolved our maritime boundary dispute with our neighbouring India and Myanmar peacefully. We settled our decades-old land border dispute with India through dialogue. As an epic example of humanity, Bangladesh has sheltered 1.2 million Rohingya refugees fleeing atrocities in Myanmar. Bangladesh has been engaged through all diplomatic means for a peaceful solution to this crisis with our neighbour Myanmar. Bangladesh is maintaining a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards the menace of terrorism and violent extremism in all forms and manifestations.

Bangladesh has been advancing fast and will continue its journey to fulfil the dream of our Father of the Nation ‘Golden Bengal’. I would urge the respected members of our community in the Kingdom to redouble their efforts and play their role in realizing that dream. We should internalize the very essence of our liberation war and propagate those values to the new generations to come. Let us take this oath on this auspicious occasion of our independence. Joi Bangla.

Long live Bangladesh-KSA Relationship.

By Dr. Mohammad Javed Patwary, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia

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