Prime Minister’s Security Affairs Adviser Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique on Tuesday said the countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal should develop a co-operative security model to enhance peace and stability in the region.
“Co-operative security can serve as the ideal mode of security co-operation for enhancing regional security among nations that have more common interests and common threats rather than opposing interests,” he said.
Tarique came up with the statement while speaking at the inaugural session of the second meeting of the Track 1.5 Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Security Dialogue Forum at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in the capital.
He said following Bangladesh’s success in combating terrorism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against illicit drugs and emphasised the development of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanism under BIMSTEC.
Track 1.5 BIMSTEC Security Dialogue Forum is a platform to facilitate security dialogue among the BIMSTEC strategic community. The first BIMSTEC Track 1.5 Security Dialogue Forum meeting took place in New Delhi in September 2017 where both government officials and scholars from member states were present.
Dhaka is hosting the second edition of the dialogue forum from Tuesday till Wednesday. Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are participating.
Established in 1997 to enhance economic, physical and people-to-people connectivity in the region, BIMSTEC has subsequently added Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) as a new sector of co-operation as it sees peace and stability as a prerequisite for sustainable economic development.
BIMSTEC Secretary General Ambassador M Shahidul Islam said the CTTC had become the most active sector of cooperation under BIMSTEC framework with frequent meetings and a well-developed institutional mechanism.
“Over the last few years, the scope of deliberation in BIMSTEC has expanded from CTTC issues to include subjects like maritime security, cyber security, space security, disaster management, climate change and other traditional and non-traditional security concerns,” he added.
Acting Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Kamrul Ahsan also spoke at the programme, which was chaired by Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, Director General of BIISS.
Kamrul reiterated strong commitment of the Bangladesh government to the regional co-operation process under the BIMSTEC framework.