British ministers and senior parliament members paid their homage to Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Monday at Westminster, near the British Parliament.
The event took place at the '51st Anniversary of Independence and National Day Reception', hosted by High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, said a press release issued by the Bangladesh High Commission to London on Wednesday (30 March).
Chairman of the Conservative Party and Cabinet Minister without portfolio Oliver Dowden MP attended the reception as the chief guest while British Foreign and Development Office (FCDO) Minister for South and Central Asia, North Africa, United Nations and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad was the guest of honour.
UK Minister for Defence Jeremy Quin MP and Minister for London and Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully MP attended and spoke on the occasion as special guests.
Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy MP, Sam Tarry MP representing the Labour Party Leader and member of Scottish Parliament Foysol Choudhury MSP also spoke on the occasion.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, International Maritime Organisation Secretary-General Kitack Lim, High Commissioner for India to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar, among others, attended the reception.
Recalling Bangabandhu's visit to London on 8 January 1972 as president of Bangladesh and meeting with Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, Oliver Dowden MP said, "Not only was the historic meeting at No 10 a powerful symbol of Bangladesh's independence, but it laid the foundation for a deep and enduring partnership between the UK and Bangladesh. Over time, we've established a strong bond with Bangladesh, bound by kinship, cultural ties, and shared values."
The conservative chairman commended Bangladesh's recent economic growth and progress and said, "The people of Bangladesh have now begun to see Bangabandhu's vision of an inclusive democratic and secular value-based country are being realised, and the UK would work together with Bangladesh to build a brighter and more prosperous future."
UK FCDO Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a leader. He said, "Sheikh Hasina is a leader who has stood up for democracy and against those who seek to radicalise communities. She is a woman of principle who seeks to strengthen inclusive democracy and freedom that guides us forth today."
High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said, "Fifty-one years ago, Bangabandhu founded Bangladesh on democratic, secular and progressive values for which he received a hero's welcome at No 10 in 1972; and the UK became the first European countries to recognise Bangladesh. Fifty-one years later, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's relentless strides transformed Bangladesh into the Asia's fastest-growing economy pursuing Bangabandhu's inclusive and progressive democratic values, the UK continues to remain a crucial partner in realising that vision and our shared prosperity."
"Prime ministers of Bangladesh and UK undertook a common resolve to open new frontiers in Bangladesh-UK relations and elevate this partnership towards strategic level prioritising business, climate change, technology transfer, and education and skills for an ever prosperous and shared future."
British Minister for Defence Jeremy Quin MP said, "Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujib was an inspirational leader, and today his vision for independent Bangladesh is continued by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."
The minister also said that the UK is looking forward to increasing further the strategic maritime cooperation in the Bay of Bengal, counterterrorism as well as support to Bangladesh Forces Goal 2030.
Paul Scully MP lauded the British-Bangladeshi community's various contributions to the UK, and specially the brilliant philanthropic work of the British-Bangladeshi business communities during the covid pandemic.
Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy MP said, "As a shadow Foreign Secretary, I will continue to work with the people of Bangladesh and the government."
The event included a cultural performance by a Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy delegation led by Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Abul Monsur, a photo exhibition titled 'Bangabandhu and Britain' and documentaries.