IORA ministers meet PM

The visiting foreign ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers of the member states and dialogue partners of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) today met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganabhaban.

The ministers of India, Comoros, Maldives, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE and Yemen altogether paid the call on the Prime Minister, said a press release of the Prime Minister’s Press Wing.

The Prime Minister welcomed the ministers in Bangladesh and thanked them for attending the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers’ meeting.

She also expressed appreciation for the support extended to Bangladesh during its Chairship of IORA.

Sheikh Hasina informed the delegates about her government’s “Vision-2041”, formulated for transforming the country into a self-reliant, prosperous, equity-based, and developed country by 2041.

She intimated the economic progress of the people of Bangladesh to the visiting ministers.

All the ministers lauded the Prime Minister for her proficient leadership in transforming Bangladesh into an economic role model and achieving commendable socio-economic progress.

Sheikh Hasina highlighted that there should be a regular exchange of VVIP visits and visits between business delegations and Chamber officials. There should also be more B2B and people-to-people contacts to develop trade and economic relations.

All the delegates agreed that intra-regional investment flows are modest, and there is ample scope for expanding the bilateral trade and investment relations.

The delegates also agreed that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among the IORA member states would be highly beneficial in this regard.

The Prime Minister wished them good health, happiness, and a safe return to their countries.

She also conveyed her heartfelt gratitude and well wishes to the Heads of State and Heads of Governments of the Member States and Dialogue Partners of IORA.

It is mentionable that the 24th Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) meeting of IORA was held on 22-23 November 2022, and the 22nd Council of Ministers (COM) of IORA was held on 24 November 2022.

The COM and CSO were attended by the representatives of the IORA member states and dialogue partners including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, French, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The Secretary General of IORA and the Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (RCSTT) delegates and the Fisheries Support Unit (FSU) also attended the meetings.

The IORA has 23 countries as members and 10 countries as dialogue partners. The event was held in an in-person format. From the Member states, 16 delegations were led by cabinet ministers, and all of them came to Dhaka to lead their respective delegations. From the dialogue partners, there was ministerial-level participation.

The COM finalized the document “IORA’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” to ensure a free, open, secure, and inclusive Indian Ocean. It approved all the Work Plans of the IORA Functional Bodies.

COM adopted the Dhaka communiqué 2022 and welcomed the launch of the UAE-led initiative, the Sheikh Zayed IORA Scholarship for Humanitarian Action and Development.

COM supported rotational audit with an envisaged cost of approximately $ 35,000 to be borne by the IORA Secretariat in its regular budget without increasing annual membership contributions.

COM tasked the Secretariat to circulate the scholarship program offered for international students in the “Oceanography” and “Disaster Science and Climate Resilience” departments at the Masters-level from the University of Dhaka to the Member States for consideration.

COM also approved and welcomed the extension of the IORA-NAM Science and Technology Centre, India, MoU, and encouraged cooperation between Member States and the NAM Science and Technology Centre, India. COM approved the application of India for IORA Vice Chair for 2023-2025.

The COM also adopted the Dialogue Partner regulation, which will facilitate building more partnerships with Dialogue Partners.

IORA Dhaka Development Initiative, renamed IORA Development Initiative in the last CSO, has made good progress in implementing capacity-building and development initiatives.

Bangladesh proposed including Climate Change as a cross-cutting issue of IORA. Member States have agreed in principle to adopt Climate Change as a cross-cutting issue. Bangladesh will provide a concept note/terms of reference and draft modalities for establishing a Working Group on Climate Change for finalization.

The Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), led by Sheikh Fazle Fahim, successfully organized the IORBF Leadership Summit on 20-21 November 2022 with the theme “Roadmap for Post-Pandemic Progress.” The summit announced a Dhaka Message, which made recommendations for how the IORBF can engage with stakeholders in the Indian Ocean region to improve the business environment and address the challenges.

The foreign minister met the ministers from Japan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and UAE. The state minister also had some bilateral meetings on the sidelines.

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