Bangladesh needs to continue its balanced foreign policy amid the changing global order keeping in mind its national interests, including stable economic growth and development of the country, said experts and policymakers.
"Many new regional and global partnerships are flourishing. We have seen the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI]. We have seen the rise of APEC, the rise of QUAD and the AUKUS. Recently, we have also seen a new initiative, the 'Indo-Pacific Economic Framework' [IPEF]," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said at a seminar titled "Changing Global Order: Securing Bangladesh's National Interest" on Thursday.
"We understand that some of these frameworks are or might be mutually exclusive, but we are also expecting solid economic opportunities to appear from both the frameworks and the fault lines that they create by the more aspirational and often ideational processes being put in place," he said at the event organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at the BIISS auditorium.
He said, "We continuously study international events and actors, and are ready to engage with everyone who wishes us no harm and who would not wish to use our resources for launching an offensive agenda of their own.
"We are no longer price takers. We engage with the world on our own terms. We believe in 'reasoning by the first principle' and we believe in partnerships for mutual economic benefits," he added.
Rashed Uz Zaman, professor, Department of International Relations, Dhaka University, said, "The ruminations on models of world orders and the pitfalls surrounding various designs should make one wonder what sort of world order is being contemplated now. Realists and liberal internationalists both are slogging it out and the Russia-Ukraine war has added more fuel to the ongoing fire.
"The story of the age is the rise of China and its geopolitical consequences, and the future will depend on how Beijing and Washington manage their relationship," he added.
Focusing on the environmental crisis amid climate change, he said, "Rising seas, dying farmlands, and ever more powerful storms and floods will render some countries uninhabitable. These changes will test the international system in new and unpredictable ways. Are we ready for this new order?"
The panellists at the seminar highlighted the uncertainties related to the changing nature of global order, maintaining Bangladesh's neutral position, balancing the emerging realities and enhancing cooperation by minimising competition among the great powers.
Regarding the challenges after LDC graduation, Naznin Ahmed, country economist, UNDP, said, "The challenges mainly come from four broader areas- trade-related support, the conditionality of development cooperation, accessing the international climate fund and access in support to the participation of Bangladesh in the UN system."
Mentioning that there were opportunities to become more competitive during these challenges, she said, "It's not like that if there is no tariff preference, Bangladesh will vanish immediately. If we can negotiate well, if we have bilateral agreements and better free trade agreements, we can survive well.
"The simple branding that Bangladesh is longer an LDC will make a big change in terms of attractive credit, investment, and skills. Those opportunities should be utilised."
Among others, Ambassador Kazi Imtiaz Hossain, chairman, BIISS, and DG Major General Mohammad Maksudur Rahman spoke at the event.