Shannon lauds Dhaka’s leadership role in crucial areas
14 December 2015, Nirapad News: Visiting US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Designate Thomas A. Shannon today highly appreciated Bangladesh’s leadership role in crucial areas and hoped to work together on climate change, security, women empowerment and other development issues.
“This is a country the world keenly listens to, whether on peacekeeping, climate change, or counterterrorism … Bangladeshis are some of the most resilient, ambitious, and entrepreneurial people on this planet,” he told a seminar here.
Shannon said the past 40 years have shown that Bangladesh and the US can accomplish “amazing things” when they work together whether it is climate change, security, women’s empowerment or development.
Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized the event styled “The US-Bangladesh Relationship: Working Together on Global Issues” at its auditorium this afternoon with Chairman of Board of Governors of BIISS Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad presiding.
Appreciating Bangladesh’s “impressive economic growth”, its success in achieving food security, reducing child and maternal mortality rate and gender inequality and growth in health and education sectors, Shannon said the United States will continue its support to drive the country’s ongoing economic growth.
“We are already one of Bangladesh’s largest foreign investors and our two-way trade has grown steadily to more than 6 billion dollars,” he added.
About the country’s success in RMG sector, Shannon said Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry is the envy of much of the developing world. So, it is important to build a strong and respected “Brand Bangladesh” where workers’ rights and safety are protected, he added.
He said Bangladesh is also an example to the world when it comes to fighting climate change and hoped to work with Bangladesh to build better warning systems and crisis management centers in further reducing the impact of severe storms and extreme weather.
Shannon said they are working towards a common vision to support Bangladesh that is “inclusive, prosperous and secure, as violent extremists and terrorists don’t share that vision.”
“They wish for a Bangladesh that is divided, weakened and chaotic. They want to destroy centuries-long traditions of religious tolerance and communal harmony,” he said, adding that Bangladesh and the US share a “common vulnerability” to this threat. “But we also share a firm resolve to defeat it.”
Reviewing the cooperation between the two countries, the US diplomat said both the countries have accomplished “much together”. “But there’s much more to be done. Together we must continue to create a future where our children can grow up healthy and educated.”
Adding few words with what Ted Kennedy said 44 years ago, Shannon said America still cares – about that there can be no doubt. “And to his timeless address I would simply add: Bangladesh matters.”
Shannon lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership role in making enormous strides in gender equality and women’s empowerment and said that Bangladesh’s success has come from making women central to its development agenda.
On regional connectivity, he said Bangladesh has also long been a leader in regional connectivity, and can become a top economy in South Asia: a manufacturing powerhouse and a hub for the movement of goods and people among the countries of South and Southeast Asia.
“The United States is helping to realize this vision through our Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor initiative,” he added.
About the upcoming municipal elections, he expressed the hope that everyone will make the most of this opportunity to reaffirm Bangladesh’s commitment to democracy.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and BIISS Director General Maj Gen AKM Abdur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.
Among others, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephen Bloom Bernicat, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Manpreet Singh Anand, Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Mohammad Ziauddin, foreign policy experts and civil society members were present.