Speaking as chief guest, state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam said maintaining law and order and security issues of the Rohingyas is one of the most challenging tasks for any trained force be it Bangladesh police or Armed Police Battalion (APBn).
Stating that undermining the Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies ability and sacrifices is actually undermining the challenges that they are facing in dealing with Rohingyas, Shahriar Alam said that a recent statement made by Human Rights Watch criticising law enforcers are beyond their acceptable standard.
Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh’s sustained diplomatic efforts have kept the Rohingya issue alive.
He said Bangladesh spend USD 1.2 billion in Rohingya response in 2021 but the international community is struggling to raise even half of the amount.
The state minister said assistance under Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the rohingyas in 2022 was not encouraging either.
Saying that Bangaldesh will soon sit with stakeholders to launch the JRP for 2023, the state minister hoped that the international community would contribute more to the humanitarian assistance of the Rohingyas.
On Indo-Pacific, the state minister said Bangladesh has been conducting constructive engagement with the countries in the Indo-Pacific region in a fair, friendly, equitable and inclusive manner.
He said Bangladesh will hopefully come out with its own strategy on Indo-Pacific very soon.
Bangladesh Center for Indo Pacific Affairs and Department of International Relations, Jahangirnagar University hosted the dialogue titled “Bangladesh and the Indo-Pacific Collaboration: Priority Issues and Concerns”.
Although the dialogue was on Indo Pacific collaboration, most of the speakers rather emphasised and discussed mostly the Rohingya issue.
Former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain said Bangladesh has been trying to repatriate the Rohingyas for several years with diplomatic efforts but not a single Rohingya could be repatriated so far.
He suggested Bangladesh can now seek other options along with continuing diplomatic efforts.
Former chief of general staff lieutenant general (retd) Sabbir Ahmed said the attention of the superpowers has been shifted to the Indo-Pacific region recently but Bangladesh has to maintain a balance in keeping with its own interest.
He said Bangladesh has been in a complex situation due to the Rohingya issue.
Sabbir Ahmed said the US attitude towards Myanmar by the Burma Act has created an opportunity for Bangladesh. He, however, said there might be a pressure of operating some kind of logistic support from Bangladesh should there be any action against Myanmar.
Bangladesh Enterprise Institute’s distinguished fellow Farooq Sobhan said Bangladesh should take a very hard look at the pros and cons of seeking admission into the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum.
"I think it will be a good idea for Bangladesh to seek to attend the next meeting of IPEF scheduled to be held in India next month as an observer so that we have a better understanding of what joining the forum means," he added.
On the Rohingya issue, he said the government of Bangladesh should seriously rethink its position and approach on the Rohingya issue taking advantage of the recent developments that have taken place in the United States regarding Myanmar.
Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) at the foreign ministry rear admiral (retd) Md Khurshed Alam, former principal staff officer of armed forces division lieutenant general Mahfuzur Rahman, ambassador of Japan Iwama Kiminori, Australian high commissioner Jeremy Bruer, Canadian high commissioner Lilly Nicholls, Saudi ambassador Issa Bin Youssef Al-Dahilan, UN resident coordinator Gwyn Lewis, US embassy’s political section chief Arturo Hines and representatives from IOM and UNHCR, among others take part in the discussion.
BCIPA’s executive director professor Shahab Enam Khan moderated the discussion.