50 years: A new era of Brit Bangla Bondhon
On this day, 50 years ago, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh established our diplomatic relations. On behalf of the United Kingdom, I congratulate the people and government of Bangladesh on this historic anniversary of a new era of Brit Bangla Bondhon.
As British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, I am proud that the United Kingdom has played such an important role in the founding story of Bangladesh. Before Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman set foot in his liberated homeland, his historic trip to the UK in January 1972 and his meeting with British Prime Minister Edward Heath forged a new friendship and accelerated the recognition of Bangladesh as a nation. independent. This historic moment encouraged Commonwealth countries to recognize Bangladesh. I also remember the humanitarian contributions of His Majesty’s Government to a booming Bangladesh before, during and after the war of liberation. In fact, the UK was one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to the people of Bangladesh in 1971, reflecting strong public support in the UK for the cause of liberation. All of this has laid the foundations for a unique and lasting relationship between the UK and Bangladesh.
With the establishment of a British High Commission in Dhaka, then British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home visited Bangladesh in 1972. The UK has been a committed partner ever since. of this country in the areas of research, health services and community development, disaster risk. reducing poverty, improving education, increasing the life expectancy of women and children and empowering women. And all of this has contributed to the country’s remarkable progress over the past 50 years.
As Bangladesh continued to grow as an independent nation in the mid-1970s, the UK began to diversify its cooperation. We have helped build the capacity of military personnel, police and government officials in Bangladesh. In 1977, the United Kingdom supported Bangladesh in establishing a Military Staff College in Savar. In 1978, then British Prime Minister James Callaghan visited Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis call the UK home, and after five decades, with around 600,000 people of Bangladeshi descent living in the UK, the relationship between the British and Bangladeshi people is deeper and stronger than ever.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to Bangladesh in 1983, when she traveled by train to visit a model village 35 miles south of Dhaka. Since that event, several members of the Royal Family including HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Princess Royal and Prime Ministers including John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron have traveled to Bangladesh to witness a booming country . During this period the relationship deepened, reflecting the strong interest of the UK as Bangladesh tried to recover from poverty, floods and devastating cyclones. The country has moved forward, a model of positive transformation while continuing to face political and governance challenges as a vibrant and independent nation.
I am happy to reflect on Bangladesh’s transformation from ‘one of the world’s poorest countries’ to ‘one of the world’s fastest growing economies’ and the UK’s part in that story . Today, the world looks in awe at what Bangladesh has achieved in its first half-century: an RMG power plant; a leading contributor to peace and security, including as a troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, and one of the most influential global voices on climate change, as we come to see it at COP26 in Glasgow. The UK is proud to be a friend of Bangladesh through it all.
Modern UK-Bangladesh links include trade and investment, Bangladesh’s British contribution to the UK’s National Health Service, education, development, defence, culture, cricket and football. curry! We share a common vision of a modern 21st century partnership linked by strong historical ties.
We look forward to strengthening these bonds of kinship and culture through the vibrancy of our strong people-to-people ties, for the next 50 years and beyond. Brit Bangla Bondhon!
British High Commission in Dhaka
United Nations Road
Dhaka – 1212
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