Foreign Policy of Bangabandhu


Published on June 14, 2021
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The formulation and implementation of a country's foreign policy depend on the political philosophy of its leadership and the equating of its relations with other countries in the world. The success of foreign policy requires not only formulating a strong policy but also strong leadership for successful implementation. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had reached London on 7 January 1972 after being released from prison in Pakistan. Soon he had a meeting with the British Prime Minister Edward Heath. He returned to the country from London via Delhi on 10 January. There Bangabandhu was given a warm reception. Many members of the cabinet, including President VV Giri, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and millions of Indians were present at that historic reception.

Following his arrival, the foreign policy of Bangladesh was formulated. The main points of Bangabandhu's foreign policy are: 'Friendship With All, Malice Towards None' and 'Friendly Coexistence'. Based on this, today's Bangladesh has been able to build a strong relationship with the international community.

As his first foreign tour, on 6 February 1972, Bangabandhu visited India. In the bilateral meeting during the visit, it was decided to withdraw all Indian troops from Bangladesh by March. India announced the withdrawal of troops from Bangladesh on 1 March and the withdrawal was completed by 15 March.

He left Dhaka for Moscow on 29 February 1972 on a five-day state visit. Visiting the Soviet Union and attending the Commonwealth Conference is another great example of Bangabandhu's successful foreign policy. In the days of the liberation war, the Soviet Union gave us intense support. The country used its veto power against a resolution opposing an independent Bangladesh in the UN Security Council. Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin received Bangabandhu at the airport. In addition, Secretary-General of the Soviet Communist Party Leonid Brezhnev and then President Nikolai Padgarni welcomed Bangabandhu at the Kremlin. On 16 March, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Bangladesh. During the visit, a 25-year agreement on friendship, cooperation and peace was signed between the two countries.

In 1972, Bangladesh became a member of IMF (18 May), ILO (22 June), Inter-Parliamentary Union (20 September), UNESCO (19 October), Colombo Plan (7 November) and GATT (9 November). On 7 August, Bangladesh sent an application to the UN Secretary-General for membership in the United Nations. Two days later, Bangabandhu wrote a letter to all members of the Security Council requesting their support for Bangladesh. On 23 August the United Kingdom, India, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia strongly recommended to the Security Council the inclusion of Bangladesh in a joint resolution. After independence, during Bangabandhu's rule, Bangladesh became members of other international organizations, including the Commonwealth of Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations.

In 1973, the World Peace Council awarded him the Julio Curie Peace Medal. February 9, 1983, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Dr Kurt Worldheim met Bangabandhu at Ganobhaban. The Prime Minister of Yugoslavia visited Bangladesh on 25 March. Bangabandhu visited Yugoslavia on 28-31 July at the invitation of President Josip Broz Tito. During the visit, President Tito expressed his full support for Bangladesh’s entry into NAM and the United Nations. Bangabandhu visited Canada on the occasion of attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Ottawa on 2-10 August. He attended the 4th NAM Summit in Algiers, Algeria on 5-9 September.

From January 1972 to July 1975, in just three and a half years, war-torn newly independent Bangladesh hosted more than 100 visits at various levels, including 50 visits by heads of state or government. In that short time, Bangladesh signed more than 60 agreements and memoranda of understanding on various issues of cooperation with different countries of the world. Many countries and organizations such as Soviet Union, Sweden, Germany, United States, Japan, Poland, United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Australia, France, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bulgaria, Belgium, Algeria, Netherlands, United Nations, UNICEF, DWP, UNHCR, etc. provide billions of dollars in various types of loans, aid and economic assistance to Bangladesh.

While Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was alive, all the countries of the world except Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman and China recognized Bangladesh as an independent state. What could be more successful foreign policy than this? And Bangabandhu's leadership, foresight and personal relationship with world leaders contributed significantly to this success.