Bangladesh transitions to donor country by providing medical assistance to Sri Lanka – OpEd – Eurasia Review

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Bangladesh’s medical and financial assistance to Sri Lanka reinforces its image and prestige. Once upon a time, Bangladesh was a “bottomless pit” and a seeker of international donations. Today, it is a donor and lender country. It shows all South Asian countries how to rise from the ashes. Bangladesh is setting an example in South Asia on how to ensure economic growth amid various socio-political aspects. Bangladesh, which was crippled with debt a few years ago, is now a country enjoying unprecedented success in debt relief. The world today looks at Bangladesh in amazement.

As a friend and close neighbour, Bangladesh is also privileged to stand with Sri Lanka in every way possible in times of crisis.

Bangladesh has donated emergency drugs worth TK 200 million to crisis-stricken Sri Lanka.

This medical assistance from the Government of Bangladesh to the friendly people of Sri Lanka is an expression of solidarity and friendship between the two nations as they celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations this year.

In this regard, a program was held on Thursday at State Guest House Padma where Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque handed over some boxes of medicine as a pledge to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Professor Sudharshan DS Seneviratne. .

Foreign Secretary Ambassador, Mr. Masud Bin Momen, MD and CEO of EDCL and DG (Medicines), President of Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) Nazmul Hassan, we are also present in the program .

In his brief remarks, Foreign Minister D. Momen called the drug donation an expression of solidarity and friendship between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as the two countries celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations.

However, what happened for Bangladesh to create one surprise after another? Economists say there are several reasons for this: exports, social progress and economic foresight. There are three other reasons besides economic capacity, viz. sympathy, economic diplomacy and political will.

When it did, the sudden news came that Bangladesh had provided 200 million euros in financial aid to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan media has raised the question if Bangladesh can be self-sufficient, why can’t we? In June, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Finance gave more startling news. Bangladesh has been said to stand alongside Sudan, the poorest country in Africa. 65 crore Bangladeshi taka was provided to reduce IMF debt burden. The country borrowed Rs 510,000 crore, Taka, from the IMF. The economic crisis was so severe that the country could not repay the debt. Bangladesh has come forward after sending messages asking for help from one country to another.

Bangladesh’s finance ministry says Sudan is heavily indebted and poor. The government hopes this funding will strengthen Sudan’s fight against poverty. At one time Sudan was a British colony. The country gained independence on January 1, 1956, under a treaty. It can be recalled that last year, Bangladesh also provided more than 80 million taka to Somalia, another African country. It was also to repay the IMF loan. Sudan, a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, is crippled by debt and poverty, and financial aid should help overcome the crisis.

Last year, Bangladesh also contributed 80 million taka to help Somalia fight poverty under the IMF initiative. Everyone is fascinated by the development of Bangladesh.

The image of Bangladesh and respect for the people of this country has increased thanks to aid to Sri Lanka and Sudan from foreign exchange reserves. Bangladesh is now a lending country! If Bangladesh can be self-sufficient, a moneylender and an economic miracle in South Asia, why can’t others do it?

He added that under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh never hesitates to extend assistance to any beleaguered nation, especially its neighbors to ensure shared peace and prosperity in the Asian region. from South. He assured that Bangladesh is ready to support Sri Lanka in any way possible.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner, while making his remarks, expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister of the Sri Lankan Government Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh for this friendly gesture of providing medicine to the people of Sri Lanka.

He noted that Sri Lanka appreciates the friendly relations with Bangladesh and is committed to strengthening them further in the coming days.

He qualified the donation of medicines, which was another demonstration that the trajectory of bilateral relations was moving in the right direction.

EDCL and BAPI provided drugs from BD taka 10 crores each, Taka 20 crores in total as gifts to Sri Lanka.

The drug is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka within a few days.

The supply of drugs would certainly manifest the capability of the pharmaceutical industries in terms of ability to produce high quality drugs and financial capacity and it would also demonstrate Bangladesh’s foreign policy willingness to maintain friendly and cooperative relations with its neighbours.

Earlier, Bangladesh supported Sri Lanka by providing $200 million through a currency swap deal.

Bangladesh’s image and respect for the people of this country has increased through financial aid to Sri Lanka and Sudan from its foreign exchange reserves. Bangladesh has also agreed to provide medical aid to Afghanistan. In December 2021, Bangladesh announced humanitarian support to the Afghan people while expressing deep concern over the looming economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The country has announced a humanitarian aid program in the form of food and medical aid, the Foreign Ministry announced after the 17th extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the situation in Afghanistan, held in Islamabad, Pakistan. Now Bangladesh has provided medical assistance to the crisis that has hit Sri Lanka. This proves that it is a true humanitarian state in South Asia.

From a humanitarian perspective, Bangladesh’s rapid response has been praised by many, nationally and globally.

The greatest humanitarian example?

Bangladesh has already firmly portrayed its image as a humanitarian nation, when it warmly welcomed around 1.1 million Rohingya refugees forcibly displaced from Myanmar. Despite numerous diplomatic efforts, the repatriation of the Rohingyas has dragged on for quite a long time. The exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh has caused many strategic, economic and environmental problems, as Bangladesh is already an overpopulated nation. Nevertheless, Bangladesh continues to generously host the largest and growing refugee camp in the world despite enormous burden on economy, food management, limited resources and other circumstances. Even Bangladesh was planning to relocate some of the Rohingyas to Bhashanchar to provide them with a better standard of living through the Ashrayan 3 project on its own funding. Furthermore, Bangladesh has recorded an impressive record of development and growth over the past decade, which will make it better able to offer assistance to other countries in crisis.

Thousands of other examples can be drawn where Bangladesh has been among the fastest nations to stand alongside others. In terms of amount, the medical aid to be provided by Bangladesh to Sri Lanka might be small scale of the funds required, but its quick response is certainly commendable.

Now the question is valid. Bangladesh is now a donor and lender country! If Bangladesh can be a self-sufficient donor, lender, economic miracle in South Asia, why can’t others do it? Why isn’t South Asia learning the lessons of Bangladesh? Of course, South Asia has a lot to learn from Bangladesh.

*John Rozario is based in Karnataka, India, and earned a Masters degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University in International Relations. He is a researcher, analyst in strategic and international affairs. He can be reached at [email protected]

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