Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered a keynote speech at the 6th Indian Ocean Conference, highlighting the importance of mutual trust and respect among nations along the Indian Ocean coastlines for a resilient future in the region. The two-day conference, organized by Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry and India Foundation, aimed to foster cooperation and dialogue among countries in the region.
Prime Minister Hasina emphasized that the Indian Ocean holds significant importance not only for Bangladesh but for all countries in the region due to its strategic geographical position. She reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to playing a role in promoting peace and called on other nations to do the same. Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh recently formulated its Indo-Pacific Outlook to further engage in regional affairs.
Being a littoral state, Bangladesh has a rich maritime history and actively participates in various regional platforms. The conference saw the participation of Mauritius President Prithvirajsing Roopun, minister-level delegations from 25 countries, and representatives from regional groupings like BIMSTEC and SAARC. India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar delivered the key-note speech, underscoring the significance of regional cooperation.
Notably, Myanmar was not invited to the conference due to the strained ties between Bangladesh and Naypyidaw over the Rohingya crisis. Prime Minister Hasina acknowledged Bangladesh’s provision of temporary shelter to over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees and appealed for active support from the global community to ensure their safe and sustainable repatriation to Myanmar.
Hasina called for the promotion of a “culture of peace” and people-centric development in the region, emphasizing the need for just and inclusive societies. She stressed the importance of “Maritime Diplomacy” and enhanced mutual cooperation among Indian Ocean countries, particularly in addressing climate vulnerability. The Prime Minister highlighted the region’s requirement for open, transparent, rules-based multilateral systems that facilitate equitable and sustainable development, promoting inclusive economic growth.
Bangladesh, currently chairing the Indian Ocean Rim Association and serving as President of the Council of the International Seabed Authority, aims to play an active role in regional affairs and contribute to the prosperity and stability of the Indian Ocean region.
Overall, Prime Minister Hasina’s speech emphasized the significance of trust, peace, and cooperation among nations for a resilient future in the Indian Ocean region. The conference provided a platform for dialogue and collaboration, fostering an inclusive approach to address shared challenges and promote sustainable development.