Dhaka for combating piracy, human trafficking in Indian Ocean Rim

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DHAKA : Bangladesh today urged the IORA member states to initiate appropriate action plan to combat maritime piracy, human and arms trafficking and unregulated fishing in Indian Ocean Rim as the global economic gravity is gradually shifting eastward and being largely focused around the region.

“In the process, Indian Ocean has emerged to be critically important as a pipeline for international trade and economy,” said Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali as he sought IORA’s central role in combating these challenges.

The foreign minister was making his statement at the Council of Ministers Meeting (COMM) held in Jakarta, Indonesia on the occasion of the first-ever Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), according to a message received here this afternoon.

He also laid emphasis on liberalizing visa regime, enhancing connectivity, revitalizing the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum, reducing trade barriers aimed at expansion of trade and investment within the region.

In this connection, he appreciated IORA’s initiative to introduce IORA Business Travel Card (IBTC) to enhance economic integration among the member states and stressed on promoting sustainable and responsible fisheries management.

Ali expressed the hope that IORA will initiate necessary steps in forging greater cooperation in areas of marine fisheries, shipping, sea-bed exploration and renewable energy towards achieving a sustainable Blue Economy in the region along with developing a number of centres of excellence and resilience for effective disaster management.

Describing connectivity, regionalism and full-spectrum engagement with the international community as the backbone of Bangladesh’s foreign policy, Ali said Bangladesh Foreign Policy is based on the basic tenet as enunciated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman “Friendship to all malice towards none”.

“IORA is a platform, which could spread the message of an energized global network of production-possibilities, and service-sector complements”, he said adding that a sustainable maritime development strategy is at the core of the country’s own development policy.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh is deeply committed to implement and integrate the IORA Concord in her national development paradigm as the flagship initiatives are highly aligned with the development policies of Bangladesh.

He urged the member states to formulate and implement projects for economic co-operation relating to trade facilitation and liberalization, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and technological exchanges, tourism, with special and preferential arrangements for LDCs and SIDS of the Region.

The government of Indonesia, the current Chair of IORA, hosted the meeting with the support of IORA Secretariat.

Foreign Ministers and state ministers for foreign affairs from 21 Member States of the IORA- Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, attended the meeting.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali led the Bangladesh delegation at the Ministerial Meeting.

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