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Bangladesh-Pakistan’s Mango Diplomacy: What Is Next? – OpEd

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According to media reports, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent special Bangladeshi Harivanga mangoes to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha as a gesture of goodwill.

Bangladesh PM sent it as a symbol of friendship and gesture of goodwill. A protocol officer of Pakistan PM received the consignment from the Bangladesh envoy to Pakistan at the holy Eid-Ul-Adha day. In very recent times we can see that various initiatives have been taken place overtly between Bangladesh and Pakistan both counterparts. 

The Harivanga mango is a mango cultivar produced in the northwest part of Bangladesh, especially in the Rangpur district. Harivanga mango is world famous mango in taste and smell. The selection of Bangladesh PM for exchange is seem to her diplomatic prudence. 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent 2,600 kgs of mangoes as gifts to PM Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bangladesh media reported.

Then PM Hasina took an important initiative in case of Pakistan. That was the sincerity and friendship mindset of Bangladesh PM to all actors in the world. Bangladesh PM would like to keep and strengthen ties with all South Asian states. It is proved by her mango diplomacy effort. The Pakistani authority also appreciated the initiative by PM Sheikh Hasina. Some Media reported that the mangoes was received by the highest recipient with much appreciation.

Mango diplomacy of Pakistan is known to all of us. Pakistan’ s mango diplomacy surprised Communist China’s then chairman Mao Ze Dong and Chinese people in 1960’ s decade. Pakistan is a source of a huge number of mango production. Pakistan has been practicing its mango diplomacy since it’s early journey. But the current PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina took this initiative as a diplomatic effort towards the friendly countries. Bangladesh is also an important source of mango cultivation in South Asia. 

Bangladesh’s premier has already sent the special harivanga mangoes to various Indian senior leaders, policymakers of Bhutan, Nepal, many South Eastern and South Asian, Middle eastern countries as a symbol of friendship. There has some benefit for Bangladesh behind this.

At first, Bangladesh would like to take appreciation from outer parts through this process. On the other hands, it wants to spill over or the news of Bangladeshi mango amongst the whole world, Bangladesh wants to ensure its business interest. It is very pertinent that Mango is the national fruit of Bangladesh. Branding the mangoes produced in Bangladesh would bring the economic benefit for Bangladesh. The export of Bangladeshi mango can reach on its highest peak. 

The point of discussion of my article is Bangladesh-Pakistan mango diplomacy. Bangladesh’s latest mango diplomacy towards Pakistan carries a simple message. Is Bangladesh interested to normalize its relations with Pakistan? In few days ago, we found some news that Pakistan sent mangoes towards 32 countries in the world including Bangladesh as its continuation of mango diplomacy. Mango is a sweet fruit. So, it carries the symbol of sweet relations. Exchange of mango between Bangladesh and Pakistan can bring them together to strengthen their ties. Bangladesh and Pakistan exchanged many of things such as culture, regional harmony, international peace and collaboration. 

Now we can expect some other steps. High level officials visit may be a step to strengthen the ties. Both PM can exchange a visit to normalize the relations. Decision makers of both countries also can exchange the visits. Upcoming SARRC summit (likely this year) may be a platform. But an effortful holistic diplomacy is needed to facilitate it. 

Although Bangladesh-Pakistan has some strained relations in some fields. Bangladesh-Pakistan has some bitterness in their relations. But time is changing. Bangladesh and Pakistan have to be understood the present scenario in the world. Both are South Asian country geographically. Pakistan may play a key role in the process. Bangladesh is going to be a South Asian Tiger in near future. Its economy is booming. Bangladesh can also play a role to boost their trade ties.

There are some harmonies between Bangladesh and Pakistan in the field of religion, culture. Mutual trade, trans-national efforts in counter terrorism, regional connectivity may be some sectors. Therefore, the policy makers of both states have to realized the situation.  

Mango diplomacy is a little initiate but its significance is vast. This initiative can bring both under an umbrella in the case of bilateral relations. Both parties have to realize that. If the realization is positive, the both governments and people in states will benefit.

*MD Pathik Hasan, Dhaka based NGO worker, freelance writer.

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