HomeBangladeshBangabandhu's Contribution Towards the Formulation of Bangladesh Foreign Policy

Bangabandhu’s Contribution Towards the Formulation of Bangladesh Foreign Policy

 

Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibar Rahman had made enormous contributions to sustain the balance of harmony and negotiations in establishing the vibrant foreign policy of Bangladesh. The nation has made this far under the leadership of our founding father and His guided paths.

Embracing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Non-Aligned Summit in Algiers in 1973, Fidel Castro once remarked “I have not seen the Himalayas but I have seen Seikh Mujib”.

Recalling the famous remarks of Bangabandhu and Bangaladesh’s foreign policy, the country stood beside Syria and Egypt during the war against Israel. Under directives of Bangabandhu they were assisted by armed forces and tea was sent from Bangladesh to help Egyptian soldiers in Senai. From the Anwar Sadat the President of Egypt had been much optimistic about Bangladesh and building foreign relations with them. In the beginning 35 nations including India and Bhutan gave Bangladesh a formidable recognition and sustained the co-operation among countries. Because of Bangabandhu’s farsighted and friendly policies, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria and Algeria had later co-operated Bangladesh to get the membership of Organization of Islamic countries.(OIC). The countries also stressed on inviting Bangladesh as an independent state to join OIC conference in Lahore, Pakistan. The Present Bangladesh had established such stronger relationship with world community.

Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibar Rahman was conferred with the “Joliot Curie Award” in 1973, He has also received recognition through numerous awards bestowed on her by international agencies for her government’s socio-economic achievements that has helped to reduce poverty, create higher functional literacy, better health care, induce gender empowerment and facilitate accountability.

India was prominently the ally and maintained collaboration with Bangladesh from the very beginning as they had given refuge to ten million Bangladeshi’s displaced by war. Some of the major treaties were signed to strengthen their relationship. Bangladesh had signed a treaty regarding border with India signed by Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibar Rahman and Indira Gandhi. While the drafting of the constitution of Bangladesh began, the foundation of foreign policies.

 

The year of 1974 was a landmark for Bangladesh as on 17th September United Nations General assembly unanimously approved the entry of Bangladesh in the UN as its 136th member. Previously, Bangladesh had to face several impediments the path of becoming an UN member. The People’s Republic of China had put a veto earlier but Bangabandhu’s visit to China meeting with Mao Zeo Dong had changed the entire dimension. The friendship towards all and malice towards none policy indeed proved to be an effective for Bangladesh in its survival in the global affairs. He had always admired peace, individual security and maintain diplomatic relations with other countries. Mentioned previously about the recognition and economic diplomacy, the key notion was to ensure the survival of Bangladesh as a country. Meanwhile, Bangabandhu left Dhaka on 23rd September to attend the UN General Assembly. He had delivered an important speech in the mother tongue Bangladesh and met US president Gerald Ford at the White House on October.

Some of the major approaches of Bangladesh Foreign Policy that paved the way of flourishing the diplomatic strength:

 

  1. Creating an effective alliance with neighboring India and Soviet Union by strengthening their relationship and signing important treaties with India
  2. Inception of policy frameworks that define the model of Bangladesh’s foreign policy. Such as “Friendship towards all, Malice towards none”.
  3. Bangladesh has been an important member in the Organization of Islamic Countries OIC, building stable relations with the Arab nations, co-operation on the basis of Universal brotherhood.
  4. Bangladesh officially became the member of “Commonwealth of Nations” in 1972 and the United Nations in 1974
  5. Since, Bangladesh was a part of the Non-aligned movement at that time, the country had long lasting vision on amalgamate with those nations focusing on their alliance and parties
  6. Initially, Bangladesh was devastated by war that emerged, it needed funding from the International Organizations and developed countries to rebuild its infrastructure.

In the year 1972, Bangladesh had become the member of following initiatives such as: International Monetary Fund (IMF)-17TH June

International Labor Organization (ILO)-22nd June Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)-20th September Colombo Plan- 6th November

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)- 9th November

 

In September, Bangladesh Peace Council urged the US government top stop all bombings in Vietnam. On that decision, Lulumba University of Soviet Union decided to award peace medal to Bangabandhu on 23rd November, 1972. Students’ Union of Bangladesh organized a procession on 22nd December to condemn the resumption of US bombings on North Vietnam.

In 1973 some of the other notable achievements that Bangladesh has made can be given below:

  1. Asian Development Bank (ADB)-18th February
  2. International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO)-28th February
  3. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)-12th November

Bangabandhu, the founding father of Bangladesh, laid down the foundation of Bangladesh foreign policy. One needs to look at how Bangabandhu rebuilt war-torn poor Bangladesh and gained recognition from around the world within a shortest possible time.

It is also pertinent to look at how he developed warm relations with the major powers being the leader in one of the smallest countries in the world. Here comes the success of Bangabandhu’s international relations that deserves serious study. In the global South, including Bangladesh, we mostly imitate the Western IR which hardly addresses our needs and realities.

Bangladesh’s foreign policy is determined by certain basic factors which have impact on foreign policy formulation. Geography has put Bangladesh as a neighbor of India and Myanmar in three sides except the south with the Bay of Bengal. India has surrounded Bangladesh from three sides and the position of Bangladesh is like a flannel from the Bay of Bengal.

The year of 1974 was a landmark for Bangladesh as on 17th September United Nations General assembly unanimously approved the entry of Bangladesh in the UN as its 136th member. Previously, Bangladesh had to face several impediments the path of becoming an UN member. The People’s Republic of China had put a veto earlier but Bangabandhu’s visit to China meeting with Mao Zeo Dong had changed the entire dimension. The friendship towards all and malice towards none policy indeed proved to be an effective for Bangladesh in its survival in the global affairs. He had always admired peace, individual security and maintain diplomatic relations with other countries. Mentioned previously about the recognition and economic diplomacy, the key notion was to ensure the survival of Bangladesh as a country. Meanwhile, Bangabandhu left Dhaka on 23rd September to attend the UN General Assembly. He had delivered an important speech in the mother tongue Bangladesh and met US president Gerald Ford at the White House on October.

On 19th January, 1975, Australian Prime Minister EG Whitlam came to Dhaka. Bangabandhu had enormous efforts to improvise the diplomatic relation of Bangladesh with the foreign nations. Crown Prince of Japan Akihito arrived in Dhaka on 20th February. A Bangladesh delegation attended the coronation of the Nepalese monarch held in February. President of Asian Development Bank(ADB) came to Bangladesh in march. President of Afghanistan Muhammad Daud arrived in Dhaka on 14th march on a two days visit. President of Canadian International Development Agency(CIDA) arrived in Dhaka in march. Bangabandhu spoke at the Commonwealth Summit in Kingston on 5th May.

Bangladesh was also elected as a member of the Executive Council of World Trade Organization(WTO) and the Executive Board of the World Health Organization on 19th May and 22nd May respectively. On 23rd June, Bangladesh was elected as the Vice-President of the World Food Council. Noting all these important events, Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibar rahman as a political leader and an important statesman achieved remarkable success in the foundation of Bangladesh foreign policy analysis and made an impression towards most prolific world leaders as well as gained their support.

Bangabandhu, the founding father of Bangladesh, laid down the foundation of Bangladesh foreign policy. One needs to look at how Bangabandhu rebuilt war-torn poor Bangladesh and gained recognition from around the world within a shortest possible time. Although it has been a short period of time, our founding father has laid the foundations of our foreign relations that has lead Bangladesh to this day.

 

Edited By

Jaidul Karim Iram

M.S.S in Security Studies

Department of International Relations

University of Dhaka

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