Message of H.E. Alexander Ignatov on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and Bangladesh
This year Russia and Bangladesh celebrate the 45th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. Russia was among the first countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state. The exchange of the relevant notes verbales took place on January 25, 1972.
Separated by thousands of miles, Russia and Bangladesh have different cultures and modes of life. However, our countries established cordial relations based on strong friendship and mutual respect, which goes back to 1971 when our country actively supported the struggle of Bangladeshi people for independence, including in the UN. After the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the former USSR also assisted Bangladesh in joining the United Nations Organization.
In 1972-74, the Soviet Union helped Bangladesh in reviving its economy. At that time, the first highest and high-level contacts took place between Russia and Bangladesh. In March 1972, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited the USSR where intergovernmental agreements were signed on economic and technical cooperation, trade and trade representation, cultural and scientific cooperation, on providing free assistance to Bangladesh for restoring navigation in its seaports, as well as on air connection between our countries. During the first years of Bangladesh’s existence, Russia conducted a minesweeping operation in the port of Chittagong and provided financial and technical assistance to build power plants “Ghorashal” and “Siddhirganj”, electrical equipment factory in Chittagong and other objects. All of this constitute a solid basis of our bilateral relations.
Nowadays, cooperation between Russia and Bangladesh is developing in many spheres. Moscow and Dhaka share common stance on the majority of international issues and maintain regular political contacts. Economic collaboration between our countries is on the rise.
Bilateral trade volume in 2015 has reached an impressive US$ 1.64 billion. According to the latest data of the Russian Federal Customs Service, the bilateral trade in January-August of 2016 has exceeded US$ 750.5 million, which is higher than at the same period last year.
Bangladesh is in the process of solving its power deficit problem to ensure smooth economic development as well as well-being of its people. That is why the most important field of Russian-Bangladeshi cooperation is energy. Suffice it to mention that Russian State Corporation Rosatom is constructing the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh - Rooppur NPP in Pabna. Meanwhile such Russian giants as Gazprom International and Inter RAO-Engineering are also actively working with Bangladesh. They are engaged in gas extraction projects and modernization of power plants ("Ghorashal" and "Siddirganj") respectively. We have a number of joint economic projects in other sectors as well.
An important field of our bilateral cooperation is education. It provides a direct contribution to the development of Bangladesh human resources. Since the 1970s, over five thousand students from Bangladesh have graduated from Russian institutions of higher education. In 2016, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation allocated 50 full-paid scholarships, 20 of them – for nuclear science.
It is inspiring to see the successes of Bangladesh in social and economic spheres. It has achieved impressive growth rates, reduced poverty level and now has a real prospect of becoming a middle-income country in the near future. I believe that further development of trade and economic ties between Russia and Bangladesh will both contribute to economic progress of Bangladesh and make a positive impact on Russian economy.
There is no doubt that the potential of Russia-Bangladesh economic, technological, scientific and cultural interaction is inexhaustible. I believe that in the years ahead our countries will open up new horizons of cooperation and convinced that the warm relations between Russia and Bangladesh will become even stronger.
(Published in the Rising Asia magazine, January – March 2017 issue)