Apr 19, 2014, 8:53 pm (BST)
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Conquering sea a milestone in Bangladesh's economic development: PM
DHAKA, April 4 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today termed the victory over Myanmar regarding the maritime boundary as a milestone in Bangladesh's economic development, saying that it would help turn the country into a middle income one by 2021.

"This triumph is the victory of Bangladesh's people and it is a unique spur to turn the country into a middle income one by 2021," she said while addressing a reception accorded to her on the occasion of Bangladesh's conquering sea.

Sheikh Hasina added that this victory has opened up the door
of immense potentialities for the present and future generations, while the country's businesspeople would immensely benefit from

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) arranged the function at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, FBCCI President AK Azad, former FBCCI president Salman F Rahman, The Independent Editor Mahbubul Alam, eminent educationist Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, former adviser Syed Manzur Elahi and FBCCI First Vice-President M Jasim Uddin also spoke at the function.

Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Rear Admiral (retd) Khorshed Alam, who played the key role in the legal battle on the maritime boundary dispute with Myanmar, delivered his speech through power point presentation.

The Prime Minister said her government wants to make the country self-reliant in all sectors through proper utilization of the country's own resources.

"We have risen the size of Annual Development Programme (ADP) to 41,000 crore taka by increasing 18,000 crore taka in the last three years and we are implementing the ADP with small amount of foreign aid, " she said.

Ruling out the anxiety about the country's present economic state, Sheikh Hasina said there is no reason to be worried about our economy as it is doing well despite global recession.

"Our economic indexes are more better despite global recession as the forex reserve has crossed 10 billion US dollars and the country clocked 6.7 percent growth in the last fiscal year," she said.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a country of emerging economy before the world people, the Prime Minister said the export sector witnessed over 13 percent growth from July to February, while 42 percent export growth were achieved in the last fiscal year and the country's remittance flow increased by 12.50 percent.

Sheikh Hasina said the greatest Bangalee of all time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman first took initiatives for establishing Bangladesh' rights over the Bay of Bengal in 1974. "He framed the Territorial Waters and Maritime Zone Act, 1974, the first of its kind in South Asia," she said.

The Prime Minister said the United Nations had framed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)-III in 1982 and made it open for ratification. "But the governments of Jatiya Party and BNP did not take any initiatives to ratify the convention," she lamented.

Sheikh Hasina said the previous Awami League government had taken initiatives to ratify the convention and the cabinet endorsed it on July 9 in 2001.

The Prime Minister said after coming to power in 2001, the BNP government did not take any steps for realizing Bangladesh's demand in maritime boundary. "Even they did not conduct necessary scientific survey for demarcating sea boundary," she said.

She said after taking office in 2009, the present AL government collected necessary data and information very fast after carrying out survey. "We lodged two cases -- one with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg in Germany against Myanmar and another with the international tribunal in the Hague of the Netherlands against India on October 8 in 2009," she said.

"At last we got the historic verdict on March 14 after several times of hearing from September 8 to 24 establishing our absolute rights up to 200 nautical miles from the coast and then the continental shelf and adding 1.11 lakh square kilometer area of the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh's existing size," she said.

She said, "The maritime boundary dispute with Myanmar was resolved, and the verdict of the case lodged against India would be pronounced in 2014..we would also bring success in that case Insha Allah."

The Prime Minister also said Bangladesh does not want to go to conflicting position with the neighbours as it wants to resolve all disputes with the neighbours by maintaining friendly relations.

She said her government would set up a marine research institute for development of research in the sector.
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