President M Abdul Hamid on Monday put emphasis on building strong bridges among the Indian Ocean littorals with a collective sense of responsibility and sharing of resources to ensure safety of sea users.
“The safety of lives at sea is a regional responsibility. .
Therefore, we shall have to work together as a single entity and must make proper use of the existing forums to build strong bridges among the Indian Ocean littorals,” the President said while opening Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX)-2017 at Inani Beach in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh navy organized the first ever such symposium with the participation of naval chiefs, high navy officials, warships of some 32 countries, including nine observer countries, aimed at increasing exchange of information and harnessing the potentials for the socio-economic development as well as for the cause of humanity in the Asia Pacific and the adjoining oceans.
President Hamid said, “The geographical borders divide the countries, but bridges of friendship across the ocean can unite us together.”
Noting that the natural disasters like Cyclone and Tsunami are beyond the capacity of any single nation to respond effectively, the President said it has become apparent through numbers of incidents that the safety of lives at sea is a regional responsibility and all will have to work together as single entity to that end.
Terming Bangladesh is a peace-loving country and believes in peaceful co-existence with her neighbours and beyond, the President said, “We believe that positive mindset and approach can develop confidence and resolve bilateral disputes among the regional countries.”
Referring to country’s significant role in various regional and global forums and organizations, President Hamid said Bangladesh has set a bright example to the world by amicably resolving our maritime boundary disputes with both of our neighbours.
Being one of the highest troop contributing nation in the United Nations peacekeeping operations for last two decades, the President said, it is a true manifestation of country’s commitment towards world peace.
Abdul Hamid said, Indian Ocean has the greatest strategic as well as economic value and also carries huge prospects and potentials to facilitate maritime trade and commerce, economic prosperity, exploitation and exploration of the ocean resources.
Realizing the immense potential of the maritime domain and emergence of ‘Blue Economy’ concept in the Indian Ocean Region, the present government has taken huge initiative to develop the maritime sectors of Bangladesh.
He said Bangladesh navy remains as vigilant guardian in the sea frontier to support the government’s blue economy agenda and Bangladesh Navy in the meantime has become a symbol of confidence to all sea users for any emergency need at home and abroad, independently or as a coalition.
“However, the thriving maritime economy can only prosper if we can ensure a safe and secured environment in the sea,” the President observed.
Referring to the foreign policy dictum, “Friendship to all, malice towards none”, the President said we are maintaining excellent relations with all the regional countries as well as international community in keeping with that policy.
Symposium chairman and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmed and Indian navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, also spoke the function.
Among others, some heads of Foreign Missions in Bangladesh, chiefs of Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force, local parliament members, chiefs of the Navies and Heads of delegations of the participating states and high civil and military officials were also present on eth occasion.
The IMMSAREX-2017 will continue till November 29.