Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked Bangladesh's diplomats to reinforce economic diplomacy for expanding trade and business to achieve economic self-reliance for the country.
"Diplomacy has transformed into almost economic diplomacy. Now we need to see how we should expand trade and business to achieve economic self-reliance by maintaining good relations with all, to achieve development, and bring peace through collaborating with one another. We will have to carry out diplomacy in such a way," she said.
The PM was addressing a discussion virtually from the Gono Bhaban.
The discussion was arranged by the foreign ministry at the Foreign Service Academy in the city commemorating the historic Bangla speech by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the United Nations General Assembly in 1974.
"In today's world, the responsibility of our diplomatic missions has also changed. Now it is rather economic diplomacy, not only political diplomacy," said the premier.
She said diplomats should join the Bangladeshi missions abroad after having proper training at the Foreign Service Academy.
"I would expect those who are going to join work in our diplomatic missions to receive proper training here," she said, adding that not only diplomats but also all staff of the missions and their spouses should be given training at the academy.
Referring to the contributions of Bangladesh to the United Nations peacekeeping missions, Hasina said Bangladesh is always ready to establish peace.
"Since we are dependent on each other, we expect cooperation from all. We are also ready to cooperate with anyone, if needed. Bangladesh always wants peace to prevail across the world."
She said the Bangladesh forces, including army and police, have been playing a special role in the UN peacekeeping missions to check conflicts in various countries, sacrificing lives in some cases.
Hasina said Bangladesh won the membership of the United Nations in a short time after its independence, which was a big success in the diplomacy of Bangabandhu. Bangladesh became a member of almost all international organisations, including the UN and the Commonwealth during his tenure.
Mentioning that the maiden speech of Bangabandhu in the UNGA is still relevant, she said, "If we review the speech the Father of the Nation delivered in the UN on September 25, 1974 [also on Friday], we would see we're still dealing with the same issues in the international arena."
In his speech, Bangabandhu had focused on the environment, how to prevent damages caused by natural disasters, changing the fate of the poor, ensuring human rights, justice and socio-economic development, Hasina said, adding that he had called upon the whole world to protect the people from diseases.
Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, she said her government has placed the highest importance on food production as famine may be seen in the world due to the novel coronavirus.
She said the government had been making efforts to produce food as much as possible and distribute the foods properly, provide food assistance to the poor and overall maintain the food security.
At the function, Hasina also opened the newly constructed Foreign Service Academy Building digitally in Sugandha on Bailey Road in the capital.
The PM unveiled the covers of two books titled "Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina and the United Nations: Bangladesh at the World Stage" and "Bangabandhu: The People's Hero" published by the foreign ministry on the occasion of the Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo spoke at the discussion meeting.
Sugandha was the first Gono Bhaban after the country's independence, from where the Father of the Nation had led his government and used to formulate and conduct foreign policy matters, among other important issues.