The prime minister's participation at the 15th BRICS Summit is a big recognition for Bangladesh's economy and has elevated the country's status on the global stage, Professor Abdul Mannan, former chairman of the University Grants Commission, has said.
Not getting BRICS membership is not a big deal, he said at a roundtable discussion on "BRICS and G-20: Message in Politics", organised by the Editors Guild in Dhaka yesterday.
"It doesn't matter whether the prime minister is coming back empty-handed or full-handed. It seems to me that the economic standing of Bangladesh is now being recognised," he said.
"She [Sheikh Hasina] went to the G-10 summit, after a few weeks she will go to the G20 summit. Our economy is being recognised globally; it is a big thing for us," he added.
There are contradictions in every international alliance, the professor said, adding that "wealth was given priority in the selection of new BRICS members."
Professor Mannan said Bangladesh's economy is now recognised by the UN, the World Bank and the IMF. "After the killing of Bangabandhu, our economy was worth $9 billion, that economy has now become $465 billion.
Former diplomat Munshi Faiz Ahmad said that Bangladesh should wait to know the exact reason for not getting BRICS membership.
"It's possible that Bangladesh didn't meet the criteria they [BRICS] were considering, which could change in future rounds of member additions," he suggested.
"However, this cannot be called a diplomatic failure," the former diplomat added.
Speaking at the meeting, Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute, said, "We have developed a strained relationship with the US on the issue of the upcoming national elections."
"They [US] want a peaceful, participatory and peaceful election. US relations with Bangladesh should not be under strains on this issue. But it is happening because we have different interests. Some of us may not want that kind of election," the economist said.
He said, "A ghost has entered our expectation management. The outcome of the PM's BRICS participation didn't match what was stated."
The Saudi king did not attend the summit but his country received membership, while Bangladesh attended it on invitation but was not granted membership, he added.
"It is an insult for us," the economist mentioned.
Editors Guild Joint Secretary Syed Ishtiaque Reza, former election commissioner Brigadier General (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, economist MM Akash, NTV Chief News Editor Zahirul Alam, and former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury also participated in the roundtable.