UK for strengthening bond with Bangladesh in next 50yrs
British High Commissioner to Dhaka Robert Chatterton Dickson on Friday said the United Kingdom (UK) looks forward to strengthen bonds of kinship and culture with Bangladesh in the next 50 years and beyond.
“Modern links between the UK and Bangladesh include trade and investment … We share a mutual vision of a modern 21st century partnership bound by strong historical ties,” he said in a message marking the UK-Bangladesh 50-year anniversary of diplomatic ties.
The envoy said, today, the world looks with admiration at what Bangladesh has achieved in its first half century, an RMG powerhouse, a leading contributor to peace and security, especially as a provider of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, and one of the most influential global voices on climate change that reacted at COP26 in Glasgow.
“I am happy to reflect on Bangladesh’s transformation from ‘one of the world’s poorest countries’ into ‘one of the world's fastest-growing economies’ and the UK’s part in that story,” he said.
The high commissioner also lauded the British Bangladeshi contribution to the UK National Health Service, education, development, defence, culture, cricket and curry.
“On this day, 50 years ago, the UK and Bangladesh established our diplomatic relationship …. the UK is proud to be a friend of Bangladesh through all this,” he wrote in the message.
On behalf of the UK, the envoy congratulated the people and the government of Bangladesh on this historic anniversary of a new era of Brit Bangla Bondhon.
He said before Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman set foot in his liberated homeland, his historic trip to the UK in January 1972 and his meeting with UK PM Edward Heath forged a new friendship and accelerated the recognition of Bangladesh as an independent nation.
“This historic moment encouraged Commonwealth countries to recognise Bangladesh,” he said.
Dickson recalled the British government’s humanitarian relief contributions to a rising Bangladesh before, during and after the liberation war.
In fact, he said the UK was one of the largest donors for humanitarian relief support to the people of Bangladesh in 1971, reflecting strong public support in the UK for the liberation cause. “All this laid the foundations for a unique and lasting relationship between the UK and Bangladesh,” he added.
With the establishment of a British High Commission in Dhaka, he said, the then UK Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home visited Bangladesh in 1972.
Since then, the UK has been a committed partner of this country in research, health services and community development, disaster risk reduction, poverty alleviation, improving education, increasing life expectancy for women and children, and womens’ empowerment.
“And all this has helped the country’s remarkable progress over the last 50 years,” said the envoy.
The country has moved forward, a role model of positive transformation while continuing to grapple with political and governance challenges as a vibrant, independent nation, read the message.
The high commissioner said many Bangladeshis made the UK their home, and after five decades, with around 600,000 people of Bangladeshi origin living in the UK, the relationship between the British and Bangladeshi peoples is deeper and stronger than ever.
The envoy also recalled the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in Bangladesh in 1983 as well as several Royal family members including Prince of Wales, Princess Royal and Prime Ministers including John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron in time to time.
“Through this time, the relationship has deepened, reflecting keen UK interest as Bangladesh has pursued recovery from poverty, floods, and devastating cyclones,” he said.