Bangladesh and the Maldives have on Thursday signed four agreements on multiple sectors as the two South Asian nations seek to enhance cooperation in trade, investment, and connectivity among others during the first official bilateral visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the archipelago
Bangladesh and the Maldives have on Thursday signed four agreements on multiple sectors as the two South Asian nations seek to enhance cooperation in trade, investment, and connectivity among others during the first official bilateral visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the archipelago.
Calling 2021 a “golden year” for Bangladesh-Maldives ties, Hasina, who is on a two-day official visit, stressed enhancing cooperation and said, “despite opportunities, we couldn’t fully utilize the potential of bilateral, investment and connectivity.”
Speaking at the joint press conference, she highlighted the need for a preferential trade agreement and mechanism to protect mutual investments.
With its growing manufacturing capacity, Hasina said, "Bangladesh would be able to provide many quality products to the Maldives at a competitive price.” She also announced resuming visa facilities for Maldivian nationals as requested by President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih.
The two countries signed four memoranda of understanding in the fields of health, human resource, youth and sports, education, and importantly one on avoidance of double taxation— which Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohemmed Solih said marked a “crucial step forward in the economic cooperation.”
Despite challenges, the two nations exchanged several high-level visits this year, including President Solih’s visit to Dhaka in March. During her discussions with Solih, Hasina explored the possibility of establishing direct shipping lines between the two countries.
Solih also commended Bangladesh’s socio-economic progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Hasina and also acknowledged the contribution of Bangladeshi workers in the development of the country’s health, tourism, and other sectors. Over 90,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers work in the Maldives.
During the meeting, the two leaders also discussed “regional and international matters of mutual concerns”.
“We concurred that effective multilateralism is key to resolving the priority issues of the day in achieving global peace and security,” Solih said in the joint press conference while offering full support for Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.
"Through SAARC, and other such platforms such IOC, Prime Minister (Hasina) and I agreed that terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalization must be addressed to achieve regional prosperity, stability, and peace,” Solih said.
On agreements in the health sector, Solih said it would greatly enhance the capacity of the Maldives. The Maldives now would be able to recruit health professionals from Bangladesh and vis-a-vis. Talks were also held to enhance exchanges for sharing knowledge in the fields of agriculture and fishery.
Hasina also announced the Bangladesh government would design specialized post-graduation courses for Maldivian students and offer vocational training for skill development.