‘Bangabandhu mooted idea of regional coop in SA’
09 December 2015, Nirapad News: State minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam commented that Bangladesh Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman mooted the idea of regional cooperation in South Asia as early as 1972.
‘Since independence, Bangladesh has always played a proactive role to build trust and friendship among the neighboring countries.’
‘Our great leader, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman mooted the idea of regional cooperation in South Asia as early as 1972, which was eventually materialized institutionally in 1985, when SAARC – South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – was established.’
According to Shahriar, Bangladesh is not only a founding member state of SAARC but also one of the most active member states within the SAARC process.
He made this assertion at ‘SAARC at 30: Achievements, Potentials and Challenges’ seminar as chief guest of the at BIISS auditorium in city on Tuesday (December 8).
‘We have signed SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity) at the 18th SAARC Summit last year, which will pave the way for electricity trade/exchange within the region.’
‘We have established the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) Secretariat in Dhaka, which is expected to significantly contribute towards enhanced trade under SAFTA through harmonization of Standards; Bangladesh also signed the Headquarters Agreement for the SARSO Secretariat on 1 November 2015.’
‘We also strengthened the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) in Dhaka, which is undertaking various collaborative research programs to ensure agricultural development and food security for the region; for 2016 alone SAC has been able to secure quarter million dollars of external funding for its research programs and activities, apart from regular contributory budget.’
He further said, ‘For the first time, we have included important issues like Migration, Blue Economy and Post-2015 Development Agenda in the SAARC process.
‘We have completed an important ADB Study on Regional Economic Integration (REI), with the ultimate goal of achieving the South Asian Economic Union (SAEU),’ he added.