Colombo, September 1 (newsin.asia): The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md.Shahidul Haque has stressed the need to ensure regional and world peace to prevent unwarranted manifestations of human mobility.
In his address at the Second Indian Ocean conference held here on Friday, Haque said: “ As much as absence of peace hinders realization of the fruits of connectivity, it also leads to unwarranted manifestation of human mobility and obstructs wider people-to-people contact.”
“Bangladesh always engages in various discourses to emphasize a principle-driven, people-centric, transparent development approach to sustain peace, regionally and globally. In doing so, we try and draw a balance between our own national interests as that of the interests of people elsewhere. It is out of that belief, Bangladesh has been hosting around half a million Rohingya people from Myanmar over the past three decades.”
Problems in Oceanic Space
On the emerging problems in the oceanic space, Haque said: “In our hyper-connected and technology-driven world, our oceans and seas are key ‘global common’. ‘Oceanic services’ are a key ‘public good’. Our oceanic space is economically-crucial and strategically-significant. Yet, we are often constrained by ‘sovereignty’ considerations in our oceanic space.”
“UNCLOS originally aimed at establishing a legal order to promote peaceful use of seas and oceans, equitable and efficient use of their resources, conservation of their living resources and protect and preserve the marine environment.”
“It is widely felt that UNCLOS needs a new supplementary instrument to ensure peace in high seas. In that context, UN member states have most recently agreed to launch negotiations for the elaboration of a legally-binding instrument dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction,” Haque said.
Security of Navigation
On the importance of security maritime navigation, he said: “Bangladesh has always attached high importance to sustaining peace and stability as well as to maritime security, freedom of navigation and overflight for international trade and economic cooperation. We affirm our belief in peaceful settlement of all international disputes through dialogues and negotiations, and based on universally recognized principles of international law, including the UNCLOS (1982).”
“Considering the increasing trade and economic ties that Bangladesh enjoys with the countries across the Indian Ocean (Far-east, South-East Asia and beyond), we have encouraged all the parties concerned to reaffirm their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the Seas and Bays.”
Rules of Engagement
Advocating rules of engagement in ensuring peace, Haque said: “So far we looked at some important elements and complementarities in sustaining peace. Let us now consider some principles of engagements between countries and stakeholders in their journey towards peace:
First: all practices to be guided by principle of fairness and equity.
Second: recognition of capacity constraints and limitation, and efforts to address these.
Third: mutual respect and trust towards others’ views, contributions,
Fourth: recognition and compliance with national laws, regulations, decision-making procedures so as to create a mutually comfortable environment.
Fifth: open, transparent and inclusive cooperation. Sixth: mutual benefit for all parties to achieve a win-win outcome.
Listing Bangladesh’s achievements, Haque said: “Four years back, guided by the above principles, Bangladesh peacefully resolved maritime boundary with India and Myanmar. Thus, we unlocked ways to explore enormous economic opportunities in the Bay of Bengal.”
“In projecting our aspirations in unison with all nations of the Indian Ocean region and beyond, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for regional unity and re-focusing on Blue Economy at the first-ever IORA Leaders’ Summit this March in Jakarta.”
“In redeeming our pledge to global peace – progress – prosperity, Bangladesh held an International Workshop on Blue Economy in 2014. This November, again, Dhaka is convening the second expert level meeting.”
“In 2016, Bangladesh mobilized the Asia-Pacific States to arrive at a common set of understanding about Blue Economy in UNESCAP. Bangladesh also hosted the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) last year.”
Plea for Non-Securitization Approach
“We believe that, for Bangladesh, security means human security. In all our endeavors, people come first. We also believe that peace and prosperity could only be achieved through ‘non-securitization’ approach. Our efforts should be based on a shared vision i.e. where each nation and community would step forward in ‘shouldering’ its commensurate ‘responsibilities’ in guarding our peace and our Commons,” Haque said.
Bangabandhu’s words of wisdom
Concluding his address the Foreign Secretary said: “Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in 1972 while attending a Banquet hosted in his honour by the Indian Prime Minister in Kolkata, said: “It is my earnest hope that there will at last be peace and stability in the subcontinent. Let there be an end, once for all, to the sterile policy of confrontation between neighbors. Let us not fritter away our national resources but use them to lift the standard of living of our people. As for us, we will be wanting to cooperate with all for creating an area of peace in South Asia where we could live side by side as good neighbours and pursue constructive policies for the benefit of our peoples….”
(The featured image at the top is that of the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohammad Shaidul Haque)