BIPSS policy circle on ‘Foreign policy of Bangladesh: Navigating a challenging path’ held


Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS), in collaboration with USAID, IFES, and CEPPS, recently organized a policy circle titled ‘Foreign Policy of Bangladesh: Navigating a Challenging Path’ at The Westin, Dhaka, said a press release.

The discussion featured Air Vice Marshal Mahmud Hussain (retd), former ambassador and a distinguished expert at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Aviation and Aerospace University (BSMRAAU); and Parvez Karim Abbasi, assistant professor, Department of Economics, East West University who shared valuable insights and thought-provoking discussions.

Major General ANM Muniruzzaman (retd), president of BIPSS, moderated the discussion, advancing an engaging exchange of views.

In his opening remarks, the moderator, Major General ANM Muniruzzaman (retd) stated that every nation puts forward policies and fosters its relations with other countries through a robust foreign policy, Bangladesh is no exception. But the path Bangladesh is taking is quite challenging.

He added that the international system is in a flux which is creating a new set of challenges for formulating the foreign policy of Bangladesh and we must take note of this. Foreign policy process in any country is not a static process, it ought to be a dynamic process which needs constant updating and moderation.

Major General ANM Muniruzzaman also said that in today’s world we face a number of challenges, particularly adjusting to the new strategic competition that is developing, called the Cold War 2.0.

Air Vice Marshal Mahmud Hussain (retd) stated his opening thoughts by expressing that Bangladesh has 3 levels of image- state actor, south Asian actor, and international actor. Bangladesh has to maintain relations with European countries and international organizations upholding the agenda of ‘Friendship to all, Malice towards none.’

He added that Bangladesh has different interests with different global powers, be it the United States or China. But, the comfort of staying neutral is no longer available for small countries like Bangladesh. In that case, countries have to focus on short-term, middle-term, and long-term objectives. He also added that, when it comes to regionalism, South Asia is the weakest.

Assistant professor Parvez Karim Abbasi stated that the foreign policy of Bangladesh has seen the direct interface between domestic politics and international complexities.

He elaborated on the fact that our major economic relations are with Western countries and we must weigh that in while deciding foreign policy trajectory. In this emerging world order, neutrality may not be an option for too long. Foreign policy works effectively when the state and nation works as one, he said. There needs to be greater convergence on foreign policy thinking across the Bangladeshi state and society

The discussion was followed by an interactive session where distinguished guests and the audience shared observations. The questions focused on regionalism, effectiveness of regional organizations, Rohingya refugees, and people-to-people movement. Diplomats based in Dhaka, former Ambassadors, representatives from International Organizations, Academician, and Students attended the event.