ISSN 2330-717X

Azerbaijan And Bangladesh Can Benefit From Potential Bilateral Ties – OpEd

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Azerbaijan is called the “land of fire” because of the incessant fires emanating from a place called Yanar Dag near the Azerbaijani capital Baku. This place is also known as ‘Burning Mountain’. Light and sparks of fire rose up to three meters. The tourist Marco Polo came here in the 13th century. Even then he saw the spark of this ‘mysterious’ fire and recorded it in the travelogue.

Centuries later, the famous French writer Alexander Dumas also mentioned this mysterious flame. Fire worshipers have been offering sacrifices for two thousand years. During the Soviet era, when scientists discovered large quantities of oil, the entire area was exploited by the Moscow government. As a result, the intensity of the flame decreases to zero. The Azerbaijani government has maintained gas supplies from other wells to keep the flames burning. When a tourist comes to this area, don’t miss the blazing flame of Baku. Tourists watch the blaze from a local coffee house. The 10-meter-long wall of fire in Yana’s spot has been burning for thousands of years.

Bangladesh is a South Asian country geographically. Is going to South Asian economic miracle. Today Bangladesh is well known to the world for continuing its rapid economic growth. The prestige of Bangladesh amongst the international community is growing day by day.

However, Bilateral relations exist between Azerbaijan and Bangladesh. According to the website of Azerbaijan’s ‘Embassy to India’, Bangladesh recognized the state independence of Azerbaijan on December 30, 1991. The diplomatic relations between two countries were established on February 26, 1992. Azerbaijan’s ambassador to India is also recognized in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s ambassador to Turkey is recognized as Bangladesh’s ambassador to Azerbaijan. Bangladesh supported Azerbaijan at the UN on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan backed Bangladesh for its nomination to the International Maritime Organization in 2011.

Bangladesh supported Azerbaijan at the UN on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Bangladesh supports Azerbaijan’s position on the issue of Khojali genocide. In 2013, Azerbaijan and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between their foreign service academies.

Azerbaijan and Bangladesh have shown interest in expanding trade and investment. There is an opportunity for potential bilateral trade relation between Azerbaijan and Bangladesh based on their export and import items. In addition, the cotton industry has an enormous potentiality to become an important export sector in Azerbaijan. 

Azerbaijan is interested in importing Bangladeshi-made garments, medicines, leather and ceramic products. Azerbaijan is also interested in importing labor from Bangladesh in support of infrastructure development efforts.

Bangladesh and Azerbaijan have agreed to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields. The information came from a meeting between the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on Saturday.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Visited Azerbaijan in 2019 to attend the 18th NAM Summit. She met with the President Aliyev.

The two leaders agreed to deepen the existing bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Azerbaijan in various fields. The meeting held at the Presidential Palace here. The two leaders discussed the historical and cultural ties between Bangladesh and Azerbaijan.

The Prime Minister recalled with deep respect the cooperation of Azerbaijan as a part of the then Soviet Union during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971. At the same time, President Aliyev recalled Bangladesh’s cooperation with Azerbaijan as a new country in 1992. Sheikh Hasina thanked Azerbaijan for providing moral and material support to the Rohingya issue in Bangladesh. The two leaders expressed hope that Bangladesh’s manpower export to Azerbaijan would be further expanded in the future.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the remarkable aspects of the remarkable success of the agricultural sector in Bangladesh. Aliyev praised Bangladesh’s achievements in various sectors under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and expressed surprise at the government’s assurance of food security for such a large population. When the Prime Minister invited the President of Azerbaijan to visit Bangladesh, Aliyev accepted the invitation. Sheikh Hasina also mentioned about opening an office of Bangladesh in Azerbaijan in future.

 In 2013, the two countries agreed to form a Joint Economic Commission (JEC) to “explore unused trade, economic and investment opportunities.” According to the foreign ministry’s website of Azerbaijan government (website of Azerbaijan’s ‘Embassy to India’), the Azerbaijani government has provided $ 200,000 assistance to Bangladesh under the UNESCO program of capacity building of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage of Bangladesh. The Government of Azerbaijan expressed its gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh for the support of the candidature of Azerbaijan to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the term of 2017-2019 on June 14, 2016. In January-June 2015 trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Bangladesh was $ 585,17 mln.

In 2014, Azerbaijan sent a draft agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation (TEC) to the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of Bangladesh. The agreement “will help expand their cooperation in the economic field, involving government agencies working in professional bodies, businesses, federations, chambers, regional and local entities.” The agreement calls for “enhancing visits, meetings and other interactions between individuals and enterprises of both countries to ensure participation in fairs, business events, seminars, symposia and conferences”. In 2019, Bangladesh and Azerbaijan have signed an agreement to strengthen cultural ties during the vist of Bangladesh PM to Azerbaijan, which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sees as the beginning of a journey to improve relations between the two countries.

Bangladesh and Azerbaijan can work in the field of Islamic tourism, tackling Covid-19, terrorism etc. Bangladesh supports Azerbaijan in the case of Nagorno Karabakh issue. Azerbaijan should stand with Bangladesh in resolving Rohingya crisis solution. The policy makers of Azerbaijan including the president should visit Bangladesh to strengthen the ties. People-to-people contact needs to be accelerated. The people of both countries can exchange religious and cultural advantage. There is an ample opportunity for potential bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Bangladesh. Azerbaijan and Bangladesh should tap the potential for ensuring their bilateral interests. 

Pathik Hasan

Pathik Hasan is a Dhaka-based NGO activist, researcher and freelance writer on contemporary international issues whose work has been published in many local and international publications. Academic background: BSS (Peace and Conflict Studies) and MSS (International Relations) under the University of Dhaka. He can be reached at [email protected]

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