Call for resolving S Asia conflicts for next generations’ peace

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 23:06, Nov 12,2019


South Asian politicians and experts on Tuesday stressed the need for countries in the region to resolve conflicts for forging regional partnership to grant future generations a chance to live in peace.

‘We owe to our future generations not to pass on the baggage of our history onto their shoulders. Look ahead,’ Indian National Congress spokesperson ManishTewari MP said at a discussion in Dhaka. ‘Keep in mind the responsibility we have to the two billion people in our region, and give them opportunities we did not have.’  

He said this on the second day of the three-day function styled Dhaka Global Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Strategy jointly organised by Observer Research Foundation of India and Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.

Stressing the need for forging regional collaboration, British high commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson said the countries must exercise ‘we leverage’ on the capabilities of regional partnerships while working globally. ‘Collaboration is the key.’  

Countries irrespective of the regions should work together to face threats to the oceans, he said. ‘The response [to threats], in fact, has to be global as the oceans, by definition, are transnational.’ 

Ryosuke Hanada of Japan Institute of International Affairs said the South Asian countries would find it difficult to collaborate in future without resolving conflict with others in the region.

A rules-based order would be indispensable in the Indo-Pacific region for small and medium-sized countries, he said. ‘It provides the due process for resolving conflict and other issues that arise.’

Climate expert Saleemul Huq urged for steps to protect the mangrove forest Sunderbans in Bangladesh and India and on collective data-driven solutions globally for containing flow of climate change induced displacement in future. Otherwise Bangladesh might see displacement of millions of people from the coastal areas to the cities in general, Dhaka in particular, he said.

As the fastest growing geographies of the world, state minister M Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar must work together to grow.

Indian high commissioner Riva Ganguly Das said India’s connectivity with Bangladesh ‘is a game-changer and for both, it’s a win-win.’

‘Connectivity plays a very important role in our interaction with one of our most important neighbours, Bangladesh. This can be judged by the excitement that we have in our North Eastern states,’ she said.

BRAC executive director Asif Saleh said role of the NGOs like BRAC was changing with the emergence and application of technology in transferring benefit of development to the people in different areas, including health and hygiene.

Oxford University researcher Maliha Muzammil said energy was always political. ‘Today’s policy regimes are fossil fuel inclined—largely due to entrenched geopolitical interests.’

Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and state minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid, among others, also spoke.  

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