Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is poised to grace the 2023 G20 Summit in New Delhi from the 9th to the 10th of September, 2023. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to attend the function in honour of the prestigious invitation extended by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and the leader of the G20 countries. The significance of Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India for the G20 Summit is profound, encompassing a spectrum of reasons that resonate on both local and international scales, culminating in a crescendo of importance.
First and foremost, the invitation holds a profound sense of honour and prestige as Bangladesh stands as the sole representative among South Asian nations to partake in the 2023 G20 Summit. This exclusive recognition underscores Bangladesh’s burgeoning significance in both regional and global economics and politics. The World Bank itself has acclaimed Bangladesh as a ‘development miracle,’ a testament to its rapid economic growth, further emphasizing the gravity of this invitation.
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Foreign policy genius evident in Sheikh Hasina’s G20 summit invitation
This invitation stands as a testament to the adept foreign policy dynamics orchestrated by the Sheikh Hasina administration. The invitation will be in work in elevating Bangladesh to a pinnacle of glory and prestige on the global stage. It symbolizes Bangladesh’s unwavering significance in regional and global diplomacy, marking a remarkable achievement in the nation’s journey.
Secondly, Sheikh Hasina’s impending visit carries immense weight for the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India, as well as Bangladesh’s connections with various states and non-state entities. The ties between Bangladesh and India run deep, intertwined through civilizational, cultural, social, and economic bonds. Since Sheikh Hasina assumed power in Bangladesh in 2009, these ties have thrived, marking an era of prosperity. Dhaka and Delhi have collaboratively penned a ‘golden chapter’ in their bilateral relations, with far-reaching impacts spanning across economic, socio-cultural, and humanitarian dimensions, ultimately touching the lives and livelihoods of millions.
Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi to attend the G20 Summit presents a momentous opportunity to deepen the already strong ties between Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh occupies a pivotal position in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East Policy.’ Its geo-strategic location, bridging South and Southeast Asia, renders it of paramount importance not only to India but also to extra-regional powers.
Furthermore, Bangladesh’s remarkable socio-economic progress serves as a shining example in the South Asian region and beyond. India recognizes the pivotal role Bangladesh plays in advancing South Asian peace, prosperity, security, and stability. This sentiment was underscored by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 26, 2021, when he emphasized the need for India and Bangladesh to progress together for the region’s prosperity. Thus, India regards Bangladesh as a crucial partner in translating its G20 agendas into reality, both within the region and on the global stage.
Additionally, Sheikh Hasina’s visit holds vital implications for Bangladesh’s bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. The G20 Summit offers a platform for bilateral and trilateral meetings between Bangladesh and other G20 members, as well as invited states. Here, Bangladesh can showcase its remarkable socio-economic progress and its increasing role in addressing regional and global challenges. For instance, the ‘Ashrayan Project,’ which provides shelter for thousands of homeless individuals, stands as a potential model project with global relevance.
What could be in the agenda for Bangladesh?
Moreover, the Summit will welcome delegations from various regional and international organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, IMF, World Bank, United Nations, WTO, WHO, and ILO, among others. This convergence of diverse international and regional entities presents a unique opportunity for Bangladesh to engage with them collectively, discussing both national and global interests. It also provides an occasion for Bangladesh to reaffirm its commitment to the neo-liberal world order, emphasizing the crucial role played by these institutions in shaping the global landscape.
The environmental dimension of the G20 Summit takes on heightened significance with Sheikh Hasina’s presence, affording Bangladesh the opportunity to share its comprehensive climate change mitigation and adaptation policies with fellow G20 participants. It’s essential to recognize that Bangladesh stands as one of the world’s most climate-affected nations while also being renowned for its climate-resilient strategies. Thus, Sheikh Hasina can provide invaluable guidance to attendees on how to tackle climate-related challenges effectively, drawing from Bangladesh’s success in confronting natural calamities.
In addition, Bangladesh’s maritime identity and its proximity to the Bay of Bengal establish it as a crucial stakeholder in the G20’s promotion of maritime trade, safety, security, and the Blue Economy. On this global platform, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can articulate Bangladesh’s perspective on matters of maritime safety, security, and the sustainable development of the Blue Economy, elevating the nation’s voice in shaping the future of maritime affairs.
The G20 Summit serves as a platform for Bangladesh to advocate on pressing global issues. Sheikh Hasina can use this opportunity to spotlight the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis, shedding light on the adversities and challenges faced by Bangladesh on a global stage. Furthermore, she can raise her voice against the Russian-Ukraine conflict and express unwavering support for international efforts to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, Sheikh Hasina can bring attention to the detrimental impact of climate change on Bangladesh and its people, emphasizing the responsibility of developed nations to address these challenges resulting from uncontrolled and unplanned industrialization. Her presence at the summit ensures that these critical issues receive the attention and consideration they deserve on the global agenda, marking a climactic moment in Bangladesh’s diplomatic endeavors.
Bilateral talks and regional dynamics
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, are set to hold a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on September 8, the day before the commencement of the G20 Summit. This evening meeting, as confirmed by Masud Bin Momen, the foreign ministry secretary, will take place at the official residence of the Indian Prime Minister.
During the bilateral meeting, several critical issues will be on the agenda, including discussions on connectivity, the sharing of Teesta River water, food and energy security, and various collaborative projects between the two nations.
Prime Minister Hasina will arrive in New Delhi as a special invitee to the two-day G20 Summit and is expected to return to Dhaka on the morning of September 10, coinciding with the conclusion of the summit of world leaders representing the most powerful economies.
Initially, the bilateral meeting was scheduled for September 11, but it had to be rescheduled due to French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Dhaka, which is set for September 10. Prime Minister Hasina will receive President Macron at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, while Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will see him off. Macron’s visit reciprocates Hasina’s earlier visit to France in November 2021, and during his time in Dhaka, President Macron will pay homage to the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.