Moscow and Dhaka: Thriving Relations based on Trust and Affinity

January 25, 2024, saw the 52nd anniversary of Russia-Bangladesh diplomatic relations. Our friendship that originated in the turbulent 1971, has withstood the test of time and today remains an example of trustworthy and mutually beneficial ties. Moscow appreciates Dhaka’s tangible contribution to tackling crucial international issues, such as sustainable development, climate change, and counterterrorism. Its peaceful and positive foreign policy is quite commendable in many aspects. Bangladesh’s commitment to a just and fair world order based on equality and respectful dialogue between all countries provides for meaningful interaction with Moscow across many international platforms and fora.

Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin inaugurates the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, marking a significant milestone in energy cooperation between Russia and Bangladesh

The year 2023 saw a number of milestones in the Russian-Bangladeshi relations. Despite the current turbulence in international affairs and the challenges facing our country on the world stage, fruitful cooperation between Moscow and Dhaka developed across many areas.

Among the key events of the past year is the  first-ever visit of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Bangladesh in September 2023. In Dhaka, he held profound negotiations on the whole gamut of bilateral ties with his counterpart A.K.A. Momen, as well as made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The two sides reaffirmed the intention to continue mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of various international platforms, outlined promising bilateral projects aimed at taking our relations to the next level and exchanged views on a wide range of issues in a trusting atmosphere.

 

Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh H.E. Alexander Mantytskiy congratulated Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her victory in the General Election

In early October, the Rooppur NPP construction site hosted a grand ceremony to mark the delivery of fresh nuclear fuel. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina virtually attended the event – a major breakthrough in the implementation of this flagship project. Thus, Rooppur NPP officially became a nuclear facility according to the IAEA classification, and Bangladesh joined the elite club of “nuclear countries”. Deliveries of nuclear fuel from the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (Russia) continued until mid-November.

Rooppur NPP will make a considerable contribution to Bangladesh’s economic development and energy security. Nuclear energy is environment friendly, and produces no carbon emission and no pollution. It is affordable, reliable, and clean. Russia will assist our Bangladeshi partners throughout the entire life cycle of the nuclear project, including our obligations for the long-term deliveries of reactor fuel, plant maintenance, and handling nuclear waste.

 

Bilateral meeting between H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov and H.E. Mr. A.K Abdul Momen, MP

Rooppur is more than just a power plant. Dozens of Bangladeshi companies provide their services and materials for construction works. The NPP project will create a new sector of the economy with more than 18 thousand workplaces for locals. Further, skilled Bangladeshi engineers trained in nuclear universities in Russia and at the education center at Rooppur itself will bring a stimulating effect for the entire national economy.

On November 12-14, a detachment of warships of the Russian Pacific Fleet comprising large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Panteleyev, as well as the sea tanker Pechenga paid a goodwill visit to the port of Chattogram. It is noteworthy that in 1972-1974, the Special Expedition of the same Pacific Fleet cleared mines and shipwrecks from the waters of the Chattogram port, ensuring safe passage for humanitarian supplies, food and other necessary goods for the war-ravaged country. In December 2023, two Russian veteran sailors of that Special Expedition took part in the Victory Day celebrations in Dhaka and were mesmerized by the progress and beauty of modern Bangladesh.

 

Graduation Ceremony of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

In March 2023, the fourth meeting of the Russia-Bangladesh Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation took place via videoconference. It is a major vehicle designed to bring together representatives of government agencies and economic operators of the two countries interested in promoting existing and exploring new promising areas of cooperation, such as pharmaceuticals, ICT, import of labor, geological exploration, etc. Notably, in 2023 the trade turnover between Russia and Bangladesh amounted to 2.7 billion dollars, with 1.8 billion being the Russian export and 900 million – Bangladeshi supplies to the Russian market.

In 2023, “Gazprom” continued implementing projects aimed at enhancing Bangladesh’s energy security. The construction of three additional wells on Bhola Island was completed, bringing the total number of drilled wells to twenty. The company’s proposals for gas evacuation and exploration of new fields are under consideration. Long-term supplies of hydrocarbons, including LNG, construction of relevant infrastructure, and use of Russian technologies in the field of renewable energy are also on the agenda.

 

Russian naval fleet, including the anti-submarine warfare ships ‘Admiral Tributes’ and ‘Admiral Panteleyev’, along with oceanic tanker ‘Pechenga,’ docks at Chittagong port in November 2023.-TASS

Russia makes a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s food security, being one of the key suppliers of various agro-industrial products, primarily wheat and fertilizers. In 2023, Bangladesh imported 2,7 mln tons of grain from Russia. The Russian Side is ready to expand the list of export items with edible oils, peas, chickpeas and lentils. In June 2023, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and JSC “Prodintorg” signed a deal to import 180 thousand tons of Muriate of Potash fertilizer from Russia.

The year 2023 saw further development of bilateral humanitarian ties. The number of government scholarships for Bangladeshi students to study for free at Russian universities has been increased. In October-November, 300 students joined the short-term Russian language courses organized at the Institute of Modern Languages (Dhaka University). The Russian House in Dhaka offers multiple opportunities to learn Russian, to get immersed into the fascinating world of Russian literature, to appreciate its modern cinema, and to explore tourist attractions abound in the vast Russian land.

3rd CISM World Military Archery Championship Bangladesh 2024

Our filmmakers continue to participate in various film festivals in both countries, such as the Dhaka International Film Festival, Dhaka Mobile Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, Kazan Muslim Film Festival and others. Young photographers from Bangladesh regularly become prizewinners of the Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest.

With every passing year, bonds of friendship between Moscow and Dhaka become stronger through frank political dialogue, new beneficial projects, and deeper people-to-people contacts.

Written by-

H.E. Alexander Vikentyevich Mantytskiy
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the Russian Federation to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

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