Published:  12:12 AM, 14 January 2020

Gearing up the nation's diplomacy

The move by the government to gear up the nation's diplomacy with West Asian nations is commendable. At a time of fast-changing conditions on a global scale, it is of significance that Bangladesh needs to undertake steps toward strengthening its diplomatic structure through concrete measures.

Indeed, with all the conflicts that have been raging in recent times, especially in the region straddling West Asia and the Middle East, it makes sense for Bangladesh not only to have a strong presence in the region but also to make its positions on the issues confronting the region known to its people as well as governments abroad.

Boosting diplomacy of course entails quite a few important factors. We will need to have articulate diplomats posted abroad, people who are well-placed to explain Bangladesh before the host countries.

Since ours is yet a condition where diplomacy comes on the wings of economic realities, it will be for Dhaka to impress upon West Asian governments in particular and the world in general its requirement for productive economic links between Bangladesh and the outside world. Trade calls for a boost but that in turn calls for all sorts of red tape in Bangladesh to be done away with in order to facilitate foreign investment in the country.

At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that in bilateral relations, the country is in a position to argue its case for economic give-and-take with the countries it deals with. There is then the need for Bangladesh to stake out clear positions on contemporary issues, for diplomacy is also a means for a nation to let the world know where it stands on matters of global importance.

To be sure, Bangladesh's foreign policy is based on the concept of friendship for all and malice toward none. Within the parameters of such an underpinning of diplomacy, it is essential for the country to observe conditions around the globe and come forth with reasoned analyses of them.

At a time when the nation observes the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of its emergence as an independent nation next year, it is only proper to expect the country to play a more involved role in world affairs.

Here at home, a regularity of discussions and analyses of foreign policy perspectives, involving former and serving diplomats, intellectuals, politicians and experts in the field, should get underway in order for newer thoughts to be floated and developed in our perceptions of the world beyond our frontiers.

Abroad, Bangladesh's diplomatic missions, staffed by competent people, should focus on constant interaction with their host countries. Additionally, it should be for our diplomats not only to present Bangladesh in all its positive image abroad but also be ready to handle the concerns which foreign governments and organizations sometimes express over our domestic political conditions.

In simple terms, it is smart diplomacy we need. Let the West Asia initiative begin anew on this premise.

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