Diplomatic Correspondent: Bangladesh and Australia have celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations reiterating with the two governments committing to promote meaningful partnership to face regional and global challenges like climate change, forced displacement and regional security.
The Australian High Commission in Dhaka hosted a programme at a city hotel on Monday evening, marking the day.
Attending the function, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer highlighted the respective government’s commitment to foster bilateral engagement on Covid-19 recovery, trade and investment, education, technology and innovation.
Both sides pledged to strengthen the bonds of friendship on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued separate goodwill messages on Monday highlighting the existing strong bonds of friendship and areas of cooperation between the two countries.
State Minister Shahriar Alam expressed gratitude for Australia’s bipartisan support for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
He paid deep respect to the Dutch-Australian William A S Ouderland, who valiantly fought beside freedom fighters in the War of Independence and was the lone foreign national decorated with gallantry award – Bir Protik.
The State Minister also recalled the contributions of Australians like Dr Geofrey Davis, Herbert Feith and Anthony Clifton to Bangladesh’s War of Liberation.
State Minister Shahriar Alam thanked Australia for being the first country in the developed world to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state on 31 January 1972.
He recalled the visit of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to Bangladesh in January 1975 during which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Whitlam secured an enduring friendship between the two peoples based on shared commitment to peace, pluralism, and dignity of people.
The State Minister also thanked Australia for its assistance in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Bangladesh and continued socio-economic support in the following decades.
He said Bangladesh looks forward to emerging as a key partner of Australia for the benefits of the people of the two countries and economies as well as regional security.
Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer said Australia also looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Bangladesh for shared recovery from the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic, as well as expanding business relationship between the two countries.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Secretary (West) Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury, Secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams, Director General (East Asia & Pacific) Kazi Russel Pervez from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and officers from the Australian High Commission in Dhaka also joined the event.
Earlier at the National Martyrs’ Memorial, Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer and his wife Catherine Harrington paid tribute to those who gave their lives in the struggle for independence.
On January 31, 1972, Australia opened its mission and established diplomatic relations with the Bangladesh government.
The warm relationship between Australia and Bangladesh continues to this day, based on mutual respect, people-to-people links and shared democratic values.
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