BIISS Delegation’s Visit to Myanmar on the occasion of MoU signing between BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS on 21 to 23 August 2017.
A delegation of BIISS visited Myanmar from 21 to 23 August 2017 for the purpose of signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Myanmar Institute of Strategic Studies (Myanmar-ISIS). Members of the delegation were Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS and Abu Salah Md. Yousuf, Senior Research Fellow, BIISS.
On 22 August 2017, Major General A K M Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, BIISS and H. E. U Nyunt Maung Shein, Chairman, Myanmar-ISIS, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS, H. E. Mr. Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Myanmar, Dennis McNamara, Senior Humanitarian Adviser, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva and high officials of Myanmar-ISIS were present in the occasion.
Before the signing of MoU, Chairman, Myanmar-ISIS, Chairman, Board of Governors, BIISS and Director General, BIISS expressed their views that both organisations can work together to further future relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The organisations can also contribute to promote new ideas for regional cooperation in the areas of security, development, energy and connectivity. They also expressed their gratitude to H. E. Mr. Mohammad Sufiur Rahman and Dennis McNamara for their contribution for making the connection between the organisations, BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS.
H. E. Mr. Mohammad Sufiur Rahman briefly discussed on how Bangladesh values its relations with Myanmar. He hoped that BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS would find out new avenues of cooperation between the countries and collaboration between the organisations would help both the countries to deepen their relations in future.
After the signing of the MoU, both organisations shared their priorities in the research arena and discussed common areas to work together. The Director General of BIISS emphasised that there are huge potentials for energy cooperation between the countries. BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS can take research projects together in this area. He also mentioned that Bangladesh and Myanmar are common members of different regional connectivity initiatives. Hence, BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS can be a platform for discussing this issue. The Chairman of Myanmar-ISIS emphasised that sharing of research data between the countries can enrich the research endeavours of both countries. Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad said that the improving relations between the countries emanate that cooperation between BIISS and Myanmar-ISIS would help policy makers to determine the future destinations of both countries.
At the end, Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad and H. E. U Nyunt Maung Shein thanked the participants and desired that in future both organisations will contribute in the development of bilateral relations between the countries.
Dr. Mohammad Jasim Uddin, Senior Research Fellow, BIISS attended an International Seminar on “Cross Border Connectivity and Inclusive Growth: Possibilities and Challenges with Special Reference to the North Eastern Region”.
Dr. Mohammad Jasim Uddin, Senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) attended an International Seminar on “Cross Border Connectivity and Inclusive Growth: Possibilities and Challenges with Special Reference to the North Eastern Region”, organised by Shillong College, Meghalaya, India on 24-25 August 2017. Resource persons from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India, including many from the North East India attended the International Seminar and made their presentations. Besides Introductory and Concluding Sessions, there were four Technical/Business Sessions – (a) Historical Linkages of Connectivity between North East and South East Asia: Ongoing Projects and Its Challenges and Opportunities (b) Market Linkages and International Trade (c) Act East Policy: Significance and Impact, and (d) Environmental Impact-Assessment and Socio-Cultural Continuum. In the first Technical Session, Dr. Mohammad Jasim Uddin was the Keynote Presenter. Professor Mahendra P. Lama, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University was the Session Chair.
The International Seminar had an in-depth analysis of opportunities and challenges of trans-border connectivity, inter- and intra- regional trade and business, India’s Act East Policy, environmental and tourism aspects of North East India. Dr. Jasim presented a paper on “BBIN and Sub-Regional Connectivity” that covered a background, development so far made on BBIN connectivity issues, challenges ahead and what to do.
Highlights on BBIN and sub-regional connectivity:
- Ratifying BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) by all members
- Concluding a comprehensive transport agreement (including transit and vehicle agreements, shipping and air transport agreements)
- Identifying routes (e.g. having cargo trial run from Bhutan or Nepal to Bangladesh and then to India) and mutual consent on the routes by all members
- Harmonising fees, charges and taxes
- Immediately undertaking some early harvest projects
- (a) Upgrading sections to provide landlocked countries immediate access to nearest seaports and improving substandard sections
- (b) Improving roadside amenities and warehouses
- (c) Some road stretches to have concurrent development on both sides of the border
- (d) Introducing electronic data management system and screening
- (e) Introducing GPS-enabled transport vehicles and biometrics for transport licenses
BIISS Delegation Visit to CIISS, China
Major General AKM Abdur Rahman, ndc, psc, Director General, along with 5 member delegation from Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) visited China from 17th to 21st July, 2017 on the invitation of China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS). The visit was in accordance with the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two institutions. The delegation includes Dr. Mohammad Mahfuz Kabir, Acting Research Director; Mr. Ashique Rahman, Research Fellow; Mr. A.S.M. Tarek Hassan Semul, Research Officer, Ms. Shanjida Shahab Uddin, Research Officer and Major Md. Khurshidul Islam, SUP, psc, Deputy Director.
Major General Rahman and his team took part in a day long dialogue at CIISS Headquarters, Beijing. CIISS delegation was led by Major General (Retd.) Xu Nanfeng, Vice Chairman, CIISS. The Dialogue had three sessions. In the Dialogue, various important issues related to potential Bangladesh-China Cooperation was discussed. The Discussion included regional connectivity initiatives such as, Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) previously known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC); Bangladesh-China Cooperation in Couterterrorism effort as well as trade, commerce and investment opportunities. The topic of discussion also included energy, research and technology transfer, and infrastructural development.
The Dialogue ended with the commitment of intimate institutional cooperation to engage in joint research collaboration, exchange of delegation visits, joint fellowship programme and joint organisation of conferences. The visit had enormous achievements in terms of Track-II initiatives to strengthen Bangladesh-China bilateral relations.
The delegation also visited Peacekeeping Center in Beijing, a facility for international exchanges in peacekeeping including international conferences and training the peacekeepers from home and abroad. During the visit to the Centre, Senior Colonel Zhou Zhe, Deputy Director of the Centre gave a short appraisal where possible institutional collaboration on peacekeeping and peacebuilding was also discussed. General Rahman emphasised on stronger Bangladesh-China cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations in terms of civilian engagement as well as training/expertise sharing between the two countries. He also mentioned Bangladesh Government’s initiative on building the Bangladesh Peacebuilding Centre (BPC) to bolster the global peace efforts. General Rahman and the BIISS delegation also visited various training facilities of the Centre, which was significant for future references.
The Peacekeeping Center, China offers training facilities for developing peacekeeping skills, including simulated UN peacekeeping camps and de-mining training grounds as well as swimming and driving facilities.
As part of the visit, the BIISS delegation visited few historical landmarks in China, which includes Yuexiu Park, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family and Shamian Island.
Dr Mahfuz Kabir, Acting Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), attended "South Asia Trade and Integration Conference" in World Bank, Washington DC on 28 June 2017
Dr Mahfuz Kabir attended “South Asia Trade and Integration Conference” in World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC on 28 June 2017. The conference was sponsored by the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, the South Asia Region, as well as the Development Economics Vice Presidency, Trade Team of the World Bank. The conference focused on, among others, policy, institutional and infrastructural barriers in increasing intra-South Asian trade flow; how to strengthen the value chains in textiles and clothing within the region and between South Asia and the world; problems of trade negotiations, SAFTA, intra-regional tariff and non-tariff barriers; and how to utilise the potential of South Asia through increasing trade and investment.In the conference, Dr Kabir explained the issues of Bangladesh’s trade and economic integration with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka through strengthening value chain in textiles and clothing (T&C) in which Bangladesh has achieved strong comparative advantage as downstream country. He shared his thoughts on Bangladesh’s regional trade in T&C with India in the context of regional value chain and how to smoothen the value chain for deriving maximum benefit for Bangladesh. Dr Kabir also interacted with some of the top international experts of international trade, such as Uri Dadush (Bruegel, Washington, DC), Caroline Freund (Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC) and Will Martin (International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC). Among others, Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Alternative Executive Director of World Bank Headquarters for Bangladesh;Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, Regional Integration, South Asia, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice; Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist, MENA region, and Senior Director, Development Economics; Michael Ferrantino, Lead Economist, World Bank; andMarinosTsigas, Lead Economist, United States International Trade Commission were present in the conference.
Participation in the National Conference on “Advancing the BBIN Sub regional Cooperation” at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, May 2017
Dr. Shaheen Afroze, Research Director, BIISS participated in the National Conference on “Advancing the BBIN Sub regional Cooperation” at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on the 04-05 May 2017 organised by Delhi Policy Group (DPG) in collaboration with the Asia Foundation. The participants of this Conference came from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Dr. Shaheen Afroze was invited in the conference as speaker at the two sessions: Energy, Hydropower and Water Resource Management and People to People Connectivity Issues.
On Day 1 (04 May 2017) there was an interactive session where the participants discussed, deliberated and came up with concrete solutions, outcomes and recommendations to solve the real issues within the BBIN Framework and advance the sub-regional cooperation. The purpose of this session was to encourage greater levels of interactions among the participants that will lead to the formation of BBIN Core Group which will continue to forward ideas to the Track 1 level officials.
On Day 2 (05 May 2017), the core group participants spoke and presented their findings on BBIN related issues to a bigger audience comprising of stakeholders from various sectors including government, academia, think tanks and civil society.