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Solid relations with a united, resilient and indomitable nation

Article - August 26, 2013
Dr dipu moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, discusses Bangladesh’s long tradition of promoting pragmatic collaborations and its links with the UK.
UK FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE WITH BANGLADESH’S MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DR DIPU MONI
How has Bangladesh become an example of peaceful coexistence? 

Our foreign policy motto by the Father of the Nation is: friendship to all and malice towards none. That means we are prepared to work with everyone: rich countries, poor countries; Christian, Muslim and Hindu countries; everyone, it does not matter, but always having respect for other people, other cultures, other religions. 
 
At our birth, in 1971, we declared ourselves to be secular, though the majority of the population was Muslim. Culturally, we are Bangladeshi first and then we are Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. We are very religious people; but we have lived in harmony for thousands of years. In Bangladesh we have been heavily influenced by Sufi Islam; it is much more tolerant. Islam itself is a religion that talks about tolerance but Sufi Islam probably practices it much more effectively.
 
What are some of the other characteristics Bangladeshi people have shown the world? 

There are so many things. The indomitable spirit and resilience of the people is just unbelievable. Also, in terms of innovation we have done so well. Just think about porcelain, something very small but having a profound impact on humanity all over the world, saving millions of lives every year, and that was done here in Dhaka. 
 
For the first 25 days of March 1971, at the call of our Father of the Nation, our people created a nonviolent movement to establish our rights. That is still one of the finest examples of Gandhi’s nonviolence. From day 26, a genocidal war was thrust upon us. In that we fought with very little against one of the most well-trained, well-armed and well-equipped armies in the world and we defeated them within nine months. It is because of the unity, the resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the people that we could do that.
 
How do you see relations with the UK? 

The UK has been a great partner in adaptation and mitigation work and addressing climate change. Also, British companies have invested in Bangladesh in a big way and we have a very comprehensive relationship with the UK on all levels. 

People-to-people, government-to-government, business-to-business, party-to-party, even political parties. It is a fantastic relationship going back a long way. At the same time, our people that are in the UK are contributing tremendously to the UK economy. Our culture has also become part of the UK culture, with regard to our cuisine for example, and we have a Bangladeshi-British MP in the House of Commons, Rushanara Ali. We are proud of her and she is another of the many bonds between our nations.

  2 COMMENTS



Christopher Myers
16/09/2013  |  21:48
100% of 1

OMG will you just look at William Hague nowadays, he's such a gentleman.. I remember the good old days when he was President of the Oxford Union!

Leighton Godfrey Rothchester
17/09/2013  |  0:32
100% of 1

The best advice Britain ever gave the world was given by Sir Winston Churchill and applies still today. I'd like to share it with the people of Bangladesh, with whom Britain will always have ties of immense friendship and mutual respect.

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."