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Bolster cooperation to combat unconventional threats faced by countries in Indian Ocean: Hasina

twitter-logoPTI | November 11, 2019 | Updated 20:02 IST

Dhaka, Nov 11 (PTI) With countries facing unconventional threats like piracy, armed robbery and terrorist attacks in the coastal and maritime areas of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday called for bolstering of bilateral and multilateral cooperation to combat these challenges. Inaugurating the three-day "Dhaka Global Dialogue-2019" here, she said it will not possible to ensure development and prosperity of any country without having peace and safety. "As an offshore country, the sea plays an extremely important role in Bangladesh's economy, and for many reasons Bangladesh puts high priority to the Indian Ocean as well as the Bay of Bengal," Hasina was quoted as saying by the official Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) news agency. The prime minister stressed the need for security and stability of maritime routes for maintaining economic stability of Bangladesh as 90 per cent of total external trade of the country was conducted via the sea. She also said there are various unconventional threats such as piracy, armed robbery, terrorist attacks in coastal and maritime areas, human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling, in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal region. Hasina urged all concerned countries to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation as well as partnerships to resolve such problems. "Bangladesh believes that such cooperation is needed to be inclusive for all and with the aim of everyone's development and security," she said. She noted that there were 40 developing countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, where 35 per cent of the global population lives while six countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal, and few more countries like Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, Malaysia and Singapore have important impact of the Bay on their economies despite not being at the coast. Hasina also said that Bangladesh has become a role model for other countries as it peacefully resolved the maritime disputes and land boundary agreement with neighbouring India and Myanmar. At the dialogue hosted by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies and Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, the prime minister noted that Bangladesh established absolute sovereignty over an area of 1,18,813 square km in the Bay of Bengal, after reconciliation of maritime boundaries with Myanmar in 2012 and with India in 2014. She also advocated for cooperative, amicable, dignified and equitable relationship between coastal countries to extract maritime resources sustainably for the development of the 'Blue Economy'. She said the utilisation of maritime resources for the economic development of a country largely depends on the stability of the region. PTI AKJ AKJ

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