The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Bangladesh held the fourth UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue on 9 September 2021 in London, UK.
The Strategic Dialogue involved a productive exchange of views across the entire breadth of bilateral relations between the UK and Bangladesh, including political and diplomatic relations, global and regional issues, economic and development partnerships, and security and defence, reads a press release.
FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton, and Bangladesh Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, led their respective sides. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Saida Muna Tasneem, and other Bangladesh delegation members also attended the high-level dialogue.
In light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Bangladesh expressed appreciation for UK's support and the UK took note of Bangladesh's efforts to ensure a continued supply of vaccines, including through Covax, and other internal and external resources.
The UK congratulated Bangladesh on rolling out the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign and both countries committed to sharing data to inform decisions affecting travel between the UK and Bangladesh.
Both sides celebrated Bangladesh's historic achievements in establishing a secular democracy after independence and beyond. The UK did however raise human rights issues, including concerns about the Digital Security Act.
Bangladesh and the UK agreed on the importance of free and fair elections, on the merits of a vibrant civil society to promote accountable governance and institutions, and on the importance of freedom of expression and religion. Both countries agreed to deepen cooperation further, including on matters of Mutual Legal Assistance and extradition requests.
The UK and Bangladesh welcomed the contribution of the British Bangladeshi community to the national life of the UK, including in the National Health Service, and the depth of the bilateral migration relationship between both countries. Both countries agreed to continue to develop their bilateral relationship on migration, including through technical discussions after the Strategic Dialogue.
Following the UK's Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, the UK highlighted its long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, recognising the region's increasing importance to a range of global challenges including conflict prevention, support for a rules-based international order, countering terrorism, and climate change. The UK and Bangladesh agreed to cooperate on these global challenges.
The UK congratulated Bangladesh on being recommended by the United Nations to graduate from the Least Developed Country category in 2026. The UK reiterated its commitment to support Bangladesh achieve a smooth and successful graduation and to continue its export-led growth by providing duty-free, quota-free access to the UK market until 2029.
The UK committed to working with Bangladesh to deliver free and fair trade by improving the functioning of the WTO and modernising global trade rules.
The UK reaffirmed its commitment to assisting Bangladeshi investigative, prosecuting, and judicial authorities in combatting crimes, and highlighted the importance of compliance with human rights, including ensuring that those accused of criminal offences are not able to escape justice by crossing national borders.
Both countries welcomed the sustained progress made in aviation security in Bangladesh, including at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, and recommitted to continue close cooperation in further strengthening aviation security, especially in the areas of sharing of best practices, training, and capacity building.