Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen yesterday said Bangladesh will propose ‘IORA-Dhaka Development Initiative (IORA-DDI)’ for inclusive regional development as Dhaka is set to host the 21st Council of Ministers (COM) meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on Wednesday.
“We will seek assistance of our Dialogue Partners for making IORA-DDI as an important tool for ensuring inclusive development in the region,” he told media at a curtain raiser briefing of the event at foreign ministry.
The foreign minister said the IORA-DDI is for enhancing capacity building through offering practical training, on-the job learning and physical demonstration in the areas where Bangladesh has specialization and expertise.
“The Indian Ocean is a huge matter … we have a policy that in the Indian Ocean will be open, free, and inclusive and we do not want to see a single dominance here,” he said.
Dr Momen said Dhaka expects that IORA would chalk out its own vision of the Indo-Pacific, a vision for a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and shared prosperity for all.
“So that we promote sustainable Blue Economy in the region,” he added.
IORA is an inter-governmental regional organisation with 23 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
More than 15 IORA Member States of IORA with 11 Ministerial level delegations are expected to join in-person while another eight to ten Ministers or junior ministers will join virtually.
“In total, around 80 delegates are coming to Dhaka to participate in the meetings and they all are expected to meet our Hon’ble Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina),” Dr Momen said.
Before the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (COM), the IORA’s apex body that meets annually, the 23rd Committee of Senior Officials’ meeting will be held on Nov 15-26.
IORA has six Priority and two Focus Areas namely Maritime Safety and Security, Fisheries Management, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Disaster Risk Management, Tourism & Cultural Exchanges, Academic, Science and Technological Cooperation, Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Since the establishment of IORA in 1997, Bangladesh is first time elected as Chair for the period 2021-2023.