Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said the countries with weak democracy may have been invited to the democracy summit organised by the United States.
"We have had a stable and transparent democracy for many years. People cast their votes in free and fair elections. Anyone can compete in the election," he told journalists at the Dhaka University campus after a seminar on Thursday.
According to a list disclosed by the White House recently, Bangladesh is not among the 110 countries invited to the US President Joe Biden's virtual democracy summit slated for 9-10 December.
Besides Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka among the South Asian countries have also not been included in the list. Only India, Pakistan and Nepal have received an invitation to attend the conference from the region.
The foreign minister also said it was up to the US to set certain parameters and invite countries based on those.
Momen does not agree that Bangladesh has been excluded. He said, "They (US) will hold the summit in two phases – this year and next year. Some countries will join in the first phase. Perhaps, we will be invited for the second phase."
"We should focus on our democracy", said the foreign minister adding that "We will not do it based on others' advice... We work for the welfare of the people."
He also commented that rather, the US democracy, which is almost 250 years old, is in peril.
"You saw what happened in the US a few days back," Momen said.
The list of 110 countries invited to the conference was published on the US State Department's website on Tuesday.
Unsurprisingly, America's main rivals China and Russia are not on the list. Turkey was also missing from the list. However, the US did invite Taiwan which the US does not recognise as an independent country but holds up as a model democracy.
Among the countries of the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq will attend the online conference.
Even though it is not clear what criteria were followed to extend the invitation, international relations analysts in Bangladesh have come up with mixed reactions.
Analysts said although democracy and human rights are said to be getting importance at the summit, there are questions about the democratic system of many of the countries invited. Even countries under authoritarian rules have been invited to the conference, they pointed out, adding that anti-China countries have been picked.