Development, assistance and economic links – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Russia is a true friend of Bangladesh. Diplomatic relations were established between Bangladesh and the Soviet Union on January 25, 1972. Next year will mark the 50e anniversary of bilateral relations. Bangladesh has maintained bilateral relations with its successor Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. There is a Russian Embassy in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and a Consulate General in Chittagong. On the other hand, Bangladesh has an embassy in Moscow, the capital of Russia. At present, Bangladesh enjoys close military, economic and political relations with Russia. Bangladesh-Russia relations are old. This relationship between the two countries contributes to the development of politics, economy and culture.
Bangladesh’s relations with Russia are historic. Anyone in Bangladesh and Russia can remember Russia’s contribution to the Great Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Bangladesh-Russia relations are historic. It would have been difficult to achieve independence without the cooperation of the then Soviet Union when Bangladesh was created.
Russia’s cultural ties with Bengal were established in the 18th century. The first Bengali play was directed by Russian playwright and explorer Gerasim Lebedev With the help of local intellectuals, Lebedev also created the first European-style theater in Bengal.
In addition, Lebedev wrote a short Bengali dictionary, wrote a book in Bengali on arithmetic, and translated parts of the poem Anandamangal into Russian.
Bangladesh and Russia share the same ideals in various regional and international fora, including the United Nations, in the maintenance of global peace and security. The governments of Bangladesh and Russia are taking existing bilateral relations with Russia to a unique level. Bangladesh has enjoyed good relations with Russia since the founding of Bangladesh. Russia helped Bangladesh to be recognized. This increased Russian investment in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has signed a number of agreements with Russia on various issues ranging from the construction of nuclear power plants to trade, investment, education, culture, etc. Russia has long cooperated with Bangladesh to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Bangladesh. Russia has also agreed to provide financial assistance to Bangladesh for the construction of this power plant. For Russia’s contribution, Bangladesh could join the nuclear club. Russian assistance in this regard gives Bangladesh international status and prestige. Bangladesh is now an energy hungry state. There are many industries, businesses and infrastructure in Bangladesh. To meet the demand for energy, this power plant will absolutely and absolutely help Bangladesh. Russia is funding several projects, including the Rooppur nuclear power plant. Bangladesh has also signed a billion arms deal with Russia. This friendly relationship between the two countries contributes to the development of politics, economy and culture. Russia has invested heavily in the country’s electricity sector and will continue to do so. Russia is investing 90% or 12 billion in the Rooppur nuclear power plant. Russia is also investing in Ghorashal and Karnafuli. During this time, many agreements have been made between the two countries.
Bangladesh has signed an agreement to buy weapons worth around $ 1 billion from Russia. The agreement was signed by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow. Bangladesh bought this weapon for its own needs. Bangladesh bought the arms with a state loan from Russia.
Russia is one of the countries supplying arms and military equipment to the armed forces of Bangladesh. In 2013, Bangladesh purchased the Metis-M anti-tank missile from Russia. In 2015 and 2016, Bangladesh purchased 17 Yak-130 trainers from Russia. In 2016, Bangladesh purchased 6 MI-161 SH helicopters from Russia.
This weapon is purchased for the purpose of modernizing the Bangladesh army. Not only that, the country is cooperating with Bangladesh on various issues. Russia is also investing in other industries. In the future, Russia will be interested in investing in ICT, electricity and energy, pharmaceuticals and the military. These investment activities would be continued thanks to good relations between the two countries.
Bangladesh has already shown interest and called on Russia to invest in the revival of Ishwardi airport. In the future, cooperation will intensify in all areas, including economic, social and cultural.
Russia has expressed interest in importing mangoes from Bangladesh. Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander V. Mantitsky expressed this interest during a meeting with Minister of Agriculture Abdur Razzak at the Secretariat on August 20, 2021. Bangladesh wants to import DAP (diammonium phosphate) and potassium fertilizers from Russia. Russia has expressed interest in importing mangoes from Bangladesh. Bangladesh has expressed interest in signing a memorandum of understanding to import fertilizers from Russia. Bangladesh has been importing MOP fertilizers from Russia on the basis of GTZ since 2013. An agreement has been reached between the two countries in this regard.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country produced around 1.5 million tonnes of mangoes last year, worth around Tk 10,000 crore. Bangladesh now ranks seventh in the world in terms of producing around 1.5 million tonnes of mangoes last year, worth around 10,000 Tk crore. Bangladesh now ranks seventh in the world in terms of production volume. However, exports are far behind.
Last year, neighboring India exported 14 million mangoes, while Bangladesh exported only $ 50,000. At present, Bangladesh’s bilateral trade with Russia is over 2 billion, it is true that Russia is very important for Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Bangladesh does not produce a lot of wheat in its territory. The climate in Bangladesh is not good for wheat production. But now the boys and girls of the new generation in Bangladesh are eating a lot of wheat. That is why Bangladesh imports wheat from Russia. Fertilizers are also imported from Russia, the use of a new fertilizer called DAPP has increased in Bangladesh. Where previously 6 lakh tonnes of DAPP was used, the demand has now increased to 14 lakh tonnes. The purchase of this fertilizer from Russia was also discussed with the Ambassador.
A memorandum of understanding will be signed with Russia, government to government. If Bangladesh can bring DAP from Russia at a good price. Previously, Bangladesh exported potatoes to Russia.
Russia will also provide the necessary assistance to resolve the Rohingya issue in Bangladesh, the Russian ambassador recently said. Therefore, Russia can play a big role for Bangladesh in supporting the repatriation of the Rohingya. In the interests of the country’s development, it is necessary to maintain good relations with Russia. Russia’s contribution to the development of Bangladesh is enormous.
Russia has imposed a ban on potato exports from Bangladesh since 2014 due to the presence of brown rot in potatoes. Russia may reconsider importing potatoes from Bangladesh to Russia. Bangladesh now produces many high quality potatoes. The government of Bangladesh has taken many steps to make potatoes bactericidal and safe. Russia can re-import potatoes. Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander V. Mantitsky said the necessary steps would be recently taken to import potatoes in this regard.
In 2009, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina visited St. Petersburg and met then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In January 2013, Sheikh Hasina met again with Russian President Putin in Moscow. During the Crimean Crisis of 2014, Bangladesh maintained its neutrality without opposing Russia.
The Russian government offers scholarships to Bangladeshi students. Many students from this country go to Russia to pursue higher education; They become proficient in various subjects, including nuclear science. Hopefully the Russian government will increase this opportunity in the future. It also invests in various sectors including electricity and fuel; The Russian government has said it will increase further in the future.
At present, Bangladesh’s bilateral trade with Russia is over two billion dollars or 16,000 crore rupees. The two countries are in high-level talks to increase trade.
Russia is a close friend of Bangladesh. Russia’s cooperation in the great war for the liberation of Bangladesh should not be forgotten. Russia has a long-standing economic and trade relationship with Bangladesh. Due to some complications, trade between the two countries did not increase as expected. Russia has five countries, the Eurasian Economic Union.
No country can trade alone. This is why Bangladesh has completed preparations for the signing of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Russia. A memorandum of understanding will be signed at the end of March to ease commercial complexities. The banking channel will be launched through this. The market will be open to trade. There will then be no more commercial complications.
There is a huge demand for clothes made in Bangladesh, seafood, potatoes, medicine, etc. in the Russian market. The signing of the MoU will create business opportunities and open new horizons for Bangladesh’s trade with Russia.
Russia has a lot of investment in Bangladesh. If the memorandum of understanding is signed between the two countries next March, all trade complications will be removed. Russia is a major export market for Bangladesh. There is a huge demand in Russia for many products, including clothes made in Bangladesh, seafood, potatoes and medicine. Russia is interested in importing them from Bangladesh. If the MoU is signed, Russia’s economic and trade relations with Bangladesh will increase dramatically. Trade will increase if traders from both countries visit each other’s countries. Russia wishes to strengthen its economic and trade relations with Bangladesh.
Russia has agreed to supply and produce its Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh. The anti-terrorist approach, tourism, the export of labor are some areas of cooperation. There are many other areas for each other to work. There are many potentials between Bangladesh-Russia relations.
Russia has expressed interest in celebrating “50 years of diplomatic relations”. Bangladesh also welcomed this. This bond is eternal. Only the sky is the limit of Bangladesh-Russia relations. Russia and Bangladesh are working together for the mutual benefit of their peoples.
The article first appeared in Bangladesh’s leading daily newspaper ” Daily independentbd”.