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Explore marine resources maintaining friendly relations with neighbors: PM

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:25, 23 February 2024  
Explore marine resources maintaining friendly relations with neighbors: PM

Photo: Collected

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today stressed extracting marine resources from Bangladesh’s vast maritime zones maintaining friendly relations with the neighboring countries to tap the potential of the "Blue Economy" for the country's socio-economic advancement.

"We have to explore the marine resources from the maritime areas we achieved. I believe the announcement of the blue economy will be implemented. We have to use the vast marine resources for the socio-economic development of Bangladesh" she said.

The premier made the remarks at a function marking the golden jubilee of enacting the law titled "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974" at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here this morning, reports BSS.

She said: "We will have to be cautious in extracting our marine resources and in continuing business and trade using seaways maintaining our foreign policy "Friendship to all, malice to none."

She also urged overseas companies to come up with investments to explore oil and gas resources in Bangladesh's maritime zones.

Sheikh Hasina said conflicting situations are being seen in many areas across the globe. But there is no conflict in this region, she said.

"This zone is very safe as there is no mess with each other here," she added.

The prime minister said the Bay of Bengal is a part of the Indian Ocean and it is a very important marine way as international business and trade have been continuing using this way since ancient times.

"All our countries have been doing trade and commerce equally using the seaway. International commerce is also going on. No conflict has ever been seen. I want such a peaceful situation always," she said.

She expressed her hope that this zone will remain peaceful for trade and commerce in the days to come.

The prime minister reiterated that Bangladesh always believe in peace, adding, "We don't want war rather we want peace. Peace shows the path of development and progress and helps the nation march forward".

She said, "We will never engage in war. But, we have to have capability to protect our sovereignty."

She later visited different stalls of the maritime stakeholders at the BICC.

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury spoke at the function.

Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (Retd) Md Khurshed Alam presented the keynote speech and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral M Nazmul Hassan gave the address of welcome.

An audio-visual documentary to mark the celebration of golden jubilee of adopting "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974" was screened at the function.

Sheikh Hasina said Awami League government always followed the foreign policy formulated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and at the same time, took the initiative to establish rights on the marine resources in line with "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974."

The prime minister said Bangladesh had established its rights on the vast marine areas and its resources by winning legal battles with Myanmar and India in the international court in 2012 and 2014.

She said Bangabandhu had first taken the initiative to establish rights in marine areas by enacting the maritime law in 1974 which the United Nations adopted in 1982.

The Father of the Nation with his wisdom had opened the path of prosperity using the marine resources by enacting the laws for the country's overall socio-economic development, she said.

She also said the subsequent governments after the 1975 plot did not take any initiative to establish the rights on the vast sea areas.

The premier said the AL government had again taken initiative upon assuming office in 1996 after a long 21 years, adding that the initiative did not attain success as the Awami League did not come to power in 2001.

No initiative was taken by the BNP government after assuming power in 2001, she said.

But, after coming to power for second time, the AL government had taken measures to this end and established rights on vast sea areas and its resources, she added.

The marine resources can contribute immensely to the advancement of national economy, the head of the government said.

"We have been attaching priority to ensuring maximum use of the marine resources alongside its protection," she said.

To this end, she also said her government has been working to make Bangladesh Navy and coast guard stronger to foster their ability to secure the vast marine areas.

"We are working to use the marine resources appropriately so we can utilize it for the socio-economic development of the people," she said.

She continued they have already established an institute to conduct research to ensure maximum use of the marine resources.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has established Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Marine University and marine institute to develop skilled manpower which is required to boost the blue economy.

She said, "The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act, 1974" has been acting as an important guidelines and hoped that it will also work in the same way in the future.

She, as well, reiterated her commitment to transform Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous and smart country free from poverty and hunger by 2041, saying. "We must implement the dream of the Father of the Nation."