The Ukraine-Russia conflict has been a major event in the current global politics, shaking it to its core. Thus far, the consequences have reached far and wide, impacting aspects from politics to the economy, energy, etc. With the war currently showcasing no indication of slowing down, one might ponder what the overarching implications might be in the long run.
These issues were echoed during the BIPSS-COSMOS Foundation roundtable on “A World in Turmoil- the Fallout from The Ukraine conflict, which took place at the Westin Dhaka on 27 July 2022. The event was attended by a number of diplomats, scholars, security experts, and youth representatives from various disciplines.
The event was moderated by Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, President of Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and Enayetullah Khan, Chairman of COSMOS Foundation.
General Munir opened the discussion with the focus on the interconnected nature of the world and how the introduction of insecurity of any sort anywhere, can lead to the introduction of insecurity everywhere. He pointed out that, we have identified 3 dimensions that ought to be impacted: Food, Energy and Finance. He also talked about the looming food crisis as the principal sources of wheat export to the international market are all located in the Ukraine-Russia and Belarus Region and unless there’s a solution found for grain export from this region, there could be severe consequences to Food Security in many parts of the world. He further talked about the plausible prolonged impact on the EU Security Architecture and their consequences beyond the war.
Enayetullah Khan initially highlighted the need for further enhanced energy exploration and the absolute necessity for the introduction of vibrant renewable policies to ensure the growth of both the conventional and the renewable energy sector.
He substantiated his argument highlighting that, following the current crisis, if Bangladesh doesn’t look inward and focus on domestic reserves, concerns might arise pertaining to foreign exchange reserves.
Former foreign secretary Touhid Hossain highlighted the constant state of turbulence and presence of war that the world has witnessed throughout its history.
He deliberated issues pertaining to NATO and the growing security dilemma. He also said Bangladesh ought to remain neutral as pledging allegiance might not be the best course of action.
Umme Salma Tarin, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP), talked about the security concerns brewing in Europe, The growing ultra-nationalism and the Humanitarian Crisis that’s largely inducing food security concerns all across the globe.
Parvez Karim Abbasi, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, East West University, illustrated the issues concerning geo-energy across the globe, such as the growing volatility of the energy market, the practice of the weaponisation of energy and lastly, the grim future of the Nord Stream 2. He said Russia is third in oil production and second in gas stock in the world; and Ukraine and Russia contributed one-third of wheat in the global market prior to the war.
He also showed great concern about the fiscal management issues and the ever present currency fluctuations.
A very lively interactive session with the audience followed. The participants expressed concern about the current global predicament and what ought to be done to ensure a better tomorrow.
The roundtable concluded with General Munir saying that we’re at a very critical juncture. Bangladesh needs to take the right steps in a number of areas of challenges in order to avert a shortage in the areas of food, energy and other sectors. Both the moderators then summarised the overall discussion, thanking the speakers and the esteemed participants and thus bringing an end to a rather vibrant and fruitful roundtable discussion.