Bangladesh has come a long way in the last 50 years with the total size of its economy, which was only about 6.3 billion US Dollars at the time of independence, now expanding over 50 times to cross 330 billion USD (Images courtesy: PMO Bangladesh)
When India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla spoke about the remarkable success story of Bangladesh during an event Monday, the hearts of many Bangladeshis present in the audience swelled with immense pride.
"Bangladesh is today one of the major engines of growth in the region with impressive economic expansion rates and rapidly improving socio-economic indicators. There are many areas in which we have learnt from Bangladesh and will continue to do so," said Shringla during the signing ceremony of the MoU on establishing Bangabandhu Chair at Delhi University.
As many marveled over the fact that Bangladesh – one of the three poorest countries in the world in 1972 with a per capita income of just 93 US Dollars – has now become a role model for the rest of the world and not just the region, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Muhammad Imran and Shaban Mahamood, Minister (Press) knew that it's only the beginning as Dhaka works hard to realise its ultimate dream of becoming a global powerhouse.
"Bangladesh's magical run has been possible because of its magical leader, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She knows how to develop the country, knows the sentiment of the ordinary man on the street and has a pulse of the country. This is why today's Bangladesh is free from poverty, corruption, terrorism and fundamentalism," Mahamood tells IndiaNarrative.com.
The minister says that Hasina has been tirelessly working for a long time to realise 'Father of the Nation' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's dream of a prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' (Golden Bengal) and even though there could be "minor deviations", the country is proceeding towards the right direction.
"The motivation behind independence was to ensure food, clothing and shelter for all the citizens. The current government is working with full enthusiasm and momentum to fulfill the pledges made by Bangabandhu during the Liberation War," says Mahamood.
The existing bonds of friendship between India and Bangladesh provide a solid basis for the greater development of the region
Bangladesh has indeed come a long way in the last 50 years with the total size of its economy, which was only about 6.3 billion US Dollars at the time of independence, now expanding over 50 times to cross 330 billion USD. The per capita income too has grown by more than 21 times, going beyond 2,000 USD.
"Remarkable changes are also seen in the health sector. Community clinics have been set up to reach quality healthcare in remote areas. Maternal and infant mortality rate has also dropped largely," Mahamood said.
However, even as it continues to make rapid strides in the export sector and is one of the fastest growing countries in the energy field besides being the fifth largest employer in the solar power sector in the world, some major concerns remain.
"Despite the huge success in family planning, population growth remains a major headache for us. To accommodate its growing population and resulting need for urbanization and industrialization, Bangladesh is losing an estimated 8,000 hectares of farm land (equivalent to about 11,000 soccer fields) every year. If left unstopped, there will be no cultivable land left in our country in 50 years," notes Mahamood.
This is one area where both India and Bangladesh still have a lot of work to do.
With the both countries celebrating the commemoration of Mujib Borsho, 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh Liberation War and also the Indo-Bangladesh diplomatic relations currently, a joint vision for the development and growth of the region could shape the future for Dhaka and New Delhi.
As Shringla said yesterday, the existing bonds of friendship between both the nations provide a solid basis for the greater development of the region and for the joint prosperity and inclusive growth of people.