Published:  12:40 AM, 12 October 2017

Dhaka's expansive diplomacy

In modern diplomacy, the issue ought not to be one of a country's having friends or enemies. The reason is simple. Diplomacy has little or no room for friends and enemies. The foreign policy of a nation is conducted on the basis of whether it has allies or strategic partners. Of course, diplomacy often breaks down when a country goes into a full-scale mission of trying to destroy another, as was the case with Pakistan in its attempts to snuff out Bangladesh's struggle for freedom close to fifty years ago.

Or there is the 1990s' horrific tale of the sufferings Serbia's ultra-nationalist leadership put Bosnia-Herzegovia through. Again, in these present times, the quixotic manner in which America's Trump administration has been conducting foreign policy, if one can call it that, is one more instance of where diplomacy reaches a dead end owing to the ignorance of men and women at the top.

Overall, though, diplomacy remains a useful and certainly valued weapon in the creation of a better world or at least in helping the world to maintain a balance where relations between nations are concerned. In line with such an argument, we note with satisfaction the activism which Bangladesh has of late deployed in its attempts to draw the attention of the international community to the Rohingya crisis. The other day, Bangladesh's High Commissioner to Pakistan, Tarik Ahsan, met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad and sought Pakistan's support in a resolution of the Rohingya crisis.

That meeting, in our view, was a demonstration of realism on Bangladesh's part against the background of an issue that has been created and exacerbated by the Myanmar authorities. In these recent weeks, Dhaka has kept the international community apprised of the steps it has taken towards finding a solution to the problem. We believe that the Bangladesh envoy's meeting with Pakistan's leader should be the initial step in our efforts to step up our diplomatic offensive on the Rohingya issue.

Concerted efforts must be made, especially in such capitals as Moscow, Delhi and Beijing, to impress upon the leadership and diplomatic establishments there of the grave need of convincing Naypyitaw to realize the serious nature of the crisis it has generated in the region.

While these diplomatic moves on Bangladesh's part go on, it is equally important that the door to our links with Myanmar be kept open. We have diplomatic relations with them and that is what should be taken advantage of. In other words, Bangladesh should, while carrying on its diplomatic offensive in the region and beyond, also make sure that its bilateral links with Myanmar remain open and are utilized to the fullest extent. In its own interest, the Myanmar government should reciprocate Bangladesh's overtures in the spirit in which they are made.

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