Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali visited London for three days from 25 September on way to Dhaka after attending the UNGA.
During his brief visit he met members of UK Parliament and other political leaders during his stopover in London. The Foreign Minister briefed the British politicians on socio-economic progress of Bangladesh and invited greater participation of the UK in the development initiatives of Bangladesh.
He elaborated on the massive infrastructure projects undertaken by the present Government for the country’s overall development and also to take advantage of the strategic location as a bridge between South Asia, Southeast Asia and China. He encouraged British businesses to seize this opportunity to invest in Bangladesh.
They also discussed the need for realigning DFID development assistance to ensure value for money and tangible results in line with the priorities set by Bangladesh Government in its 7th 5-year plan which internalised the SDGs.
On the rise of religious extremism, he reiterated the Bangladesh government’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards all sorts of violent extremism and terrorism. He explained that these miscreants use ‘allegiance of convenience’ to gain global attention.
Recalling the contributions of the Bangladeshi diaspora and curry industry, Foreign Minister Ali requested the parliamentarians to address the challenges faced by them and also those of the students.
The UK politicians expressed their keenness to work with Bangladesh and disseminate its lesser known success stories among their peers and colleagues. They assured that as friends, they would persuade both their government and businesses to deepen and widen their engagement with Bangladesh. They viewed that there were huge areas including education, skill development, security, services, engineering and IT where both countries could benefit through greater collaboration.
The meeting was attended among others by Lord Bilimoria, President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs, Lord Sheikh and Mark Field MP, Vice-Chairs, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Bangladesh, Paul Scully MP, Chair, APPG British Curry Industry and Vice Chair APPG on Bangladesh, Bob Blackman MP, Chair of APPG on British Hindus and Esther McVey, Chair, British Transport Police Authority. Bangladesh’s Acting High Commissioner in London Khondker M Talha was also present.