Japanese Professor Jimbo Ken has said various countries around the world are paying great attention to the Indo-Pacific concept and enhancing their engagements and collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.
In this regard, Professor Jimbo welcomed the announcement of "the Indo-Pacific Outlook" of Bangladesh by the government of Bangladesh in April this year.
The Professor of Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University delivered the keynote speech at a seminar on Tuesday.
The Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh and Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) co-organized the seminar on "Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Implications for South Asia Region" at the Multipurpose Hall of the Embassy of Japan.
In his presentation, Professor Jimbo noted that the concept of Indo-Pacific emerged in 2010s as the regional concepts of Asia had evolved since 1980s.
Having said that, he explained that the first officialized version of the Indo-Pacific policy can be traced back to the speech of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe which was made at the TICAD VI in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2016.
Professor Jimbo also described the opportunities and challenges we face in promoting the concept of Indo-Pacific from the security and economic viewpoint.
At the beginning of the seminar, Machida Tatsuya, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh, introduced Japan's practice of Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) in Bangladesh especially in the field of cooperation for peace and stability, such as "Official Security Assistance" (OSA) and negotiations on agreement concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology.
Machida Tatsuya emphasized that Japan and Bangladesh can play a vital role in materializing a free and open Indo-Pacific region under the new plan for FOIP including "Industrial Value Chain" initiative.
Major General (Retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, President of BIPSS, moderated the seminar.
He said the concept of Free and Open Indo-Pacific, commonly known as FOIP, has become the epicenter of global geopolitics and geo-economics. "It is a vision for rule based international order that promotes peace, stability and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region."
He also mentioned that at its core, FOIP aims to ensure that nations can navigate the waters of Indo-Pacific freely and peacefully adhering to international norms and standards.
"It is a response to the evolving strategic landscape characterized by shifting power dynamics, economic inter-dependence and a growing number of security challenges in the region," he added.
Dr Lailufar Yasmin, Professor and Chairperson of Department of International Relations, Dhaka University, and Shafqat Munir, Senior Research Fellow of BIPSS were the discussants at the seminar.
Dr Lailufar Yasmin stated that in this maritime century, connectivity and access to sea are seen as central in the management of a country's future.
The Indo-Pacific as a region is still evolving. Due to the evolving nature of the region, the relationships among the actors are also being redefined and need to be cultivated on an everyday basis, she said.
Shafqat Munir argued that the Free and Open Indo-Pacific concept as espoused by Japan will be an important marker in strengthening peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.
The new avenues of cooperation that are opening between Bangladesh and Japan, particularly in the area of security cooperation, will further strengthen our already strong bilateral relationship, he said.
Bangladesh wants to see a global system that is just and equitable where all countries, big and small, can play their rightful role strengthening the rule based international system, he mentioned.
Diplomats, academics and international organization officials, government officials, defense personnel, journalists were present.