Bangladesh and Australia pledged to strengthen bonds of friendship on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued separate goodwill messages on Monday (31 January), said a press release.
The messages highlighted the existing strong bonds of friendship and for directions for the relationship between the two friendly countries.
On this occasion, a ceremony was organised yesterday evening by the Australian High Commission at Hotel Purbani in the capital.
At the ceremony, state minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, MP and Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer highlighted the respective government's commitment to foster bilateral engagement on Covid-19 recovery, trade and investment, education, technology and innovation and meaningful partnership to face regional and global challenges such as climate change, forced displacement and regional security.
State minister Shahriar Alam stated that Bangladesh looks forward to emerging as a key partner of Australia for the benefits of the people of the two countries and economies as well as regional security.
Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer stated that Australia also looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Bangladesh for shared recovery from the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as expanding business relationships between the two countries.
State minister Shahriar Alam expressed gratitude for Australia's bipartisan support for the cause of Bangladesh's independence in 1971.
He paid deep respect to the Dutch-Australian William AS Ouderland, who valiantly fought beside freedom fighters in Bangladesh's war of independence and was the lone foreign national decorated with gallantry award – Bir Protik.
He also recalled the contributions of Australians like Geofrey Davis, Herbert Feith and Anthony Clifton to our War of Liberation.
State Minister Shahriar Alam thanked Australia for being the first country in the developed world to recognize Bangladesh as a sovereign and independent state on 31 January 1972.
He recalled the visit of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to Bangladesh in January 1975 during which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Whitlam secured an enduring friendship between the two peoples based on shared commitment to peace, pluralism, and dignity of people.
He also thanked Australia for its assistance in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Bangladesh and continued socio-economic support to us in the following decades.
Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, secretary (West) Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury, secretary (East) Mashfee Binte Shams, director general (East Asia & Pacific) Kazi Russel Pervez from the minister of Foreign Affairs and officers from the Australian High Commission in Dhaka also joined the event.