Bangladesh’s rising global significance


The month of September has brought significant international attention to Bangladesh, marking a turning point in the country’s global standing. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation in the G20 Summit held in India has played a pivotal role in highlighting Bangladesh’s importance on the world stage.

During the summit, she received a warm welcome from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and engaged in constructive discussions with several world leaders, including US President Joe Biden. Notably, President Biden went a step further by taking selfies with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her daughter, Saima Wazed, symbolizing the recognition of the importance of Sheikh Hasina’s government for regional peace and stability. It suggests that the Biden administration acknowledges the potential risks of Islamist and jihadist influences gaining ground in Bangladesh if Sheikh Hasina’s government were to be replaced. Considering the growing regional security concerns and Washington’s strengthening ties with New Delhi, it is widely anticipated that President Biden conveyed a strong message during the G20 Summit, emphasizing the need to avoid repeating the mistakes made in Kabul a couple of years ago.

In a remarkable diplomatic move, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Bangladesh just before Prime Minister Hasina’s departure for the G20 Summit marked the first-ever visit by a senior Russian official to the country since its independence in 1971. It’s worth noting that the Soviet Union played an active role in supporting Bangladesh during its war of independence.

Shortly before Lavrov’s visit, the 9th Bangladesh-US Security Dialogue took place in Dhaka, where discussions primarily revolved around expanding partnerships in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, peacekeeping efforts, defense trade, military cooperation, counterterrorism initiatives, maritime security, and regional concerns, as per the US State Department.

Moreover, on September 10, 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to make an official two-day visit to Bangladesh. Economists predict that Russia and France represent new markets for Bangladeshi products, particularly in the field of readymade garments. France’s global position is somewhat complex, with intricate relationships in various alliances and a diminishing presence in its former African colonies. Consequently, France may seek new trade opportunities, potentially in defense products and technologies, while Bangladesh aims to diversify its exports and attract French investments.

Currently, bilateral trade between Dhaka and Moscow stands at approximately US$1.5 billion. Although Bangladesh has recently initiated readymade garment exports to Russia, these efforts faced disruption due to US sanctions against Moscow. Following Lavrov’s visit, both nations may explore avenues to continue trade relations while circumventing sanctions. If successful, Bangladesh’s exports of readymade garments to the Russian market could witness a substantial increase, potentially reaching several billion dollars. Similarly, in the midst of the ongoing global economic crisis, France may show a heightened interest in procuring more apparel items from Bangladesh due to their competitive pricing. This further underscore Bangladesh’s emergence as a significant player in the international trade arena.


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