Muscat – The new Ambassador of Bangladesh to Oman H E Md Nazmul Islam is geared up to strengthen relations between his country and the sultanate, uplifting community members and fostering increased investment in Bangladesh.
With a wealth of experience and determined to realise his vision, H E Islam is committed to serving the people of both nations. His tenure promises to be marked by transformative initiatives aimed at enhancing cooperation and mutual prosperity.
Muscat Daily caught up with H E Islam for an exclusive interview. Excerpts:
As the new Ambassador of Bangladesh, what are your top priorities?
Bangladesh and Oman enjoy excellent bilateral relations based on shared values, and mutual interests and respect. Our relations date back to thousand years and the heritage and culture of Bangladesh are influenced by Omani and Arab culture. The presence of a large number of Bangladeshi expatriates in Oman contributes significantly to bringing the two friendly countries closer.
As a new ambassador, my top priority will be to maintain the existing friendly political relations and to upgrade it to a higher level. I am happy to mention here that over the last few years, we have been holding political consultations between the two countries on a regular basis. The third round of political consultations between Bangladesh and Oman was held on May 28 and 29 in Muscat. I will be working to continue the political consultations regularly as well as to arrange important visits between the two friendly countries.
Another priority will be to boost business, trade and investments between the two countries, which is not up to full potential at present. We are also working on signing a few agreements and planning the launch of a joint platform/chamber for communication between the apex chambers of the two countries. Also, establishing port-to-port connectivity and exchange of visits are some of my important targets to further improve the business, trade and investment relations between the friendly countries. Direct port connectivity to Sohar will save time as well as expenses.
I am happy to inform that currently Bangladeshi expatriates are the largest diaspora in Oman numbering around 700,000. Ensuring their wellbeing and rights in the host country and creating employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled Bangladeshi people is my other top priority.
How do you plan to increase cultural relations?
Bangladesh and Oman have rich culture and heritage, which is similar in many respects. Renowned Bangladeshi artistes have been performing in different cities of Oman regularly in programmes organised by our expatriate community and the embassy. Every year, we invite renowned individuals, academicians and journalists to take part in a programme organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, which gives them the opportunity to see Bangladesh and exchange views with their counterparts. We are also planning to collaborate in the field of sports. Our sports teams regularly visit Oman. Our under-19 hockey team recently took part in a junior Asian hockey tournament in Salalah. Earlier, our national men’s football and cricket teams also came to play here. We look forward to increase collaboration in this area.
What events are lined up for 2023?
We held our National Day reception recently this year after a period of three years. Many Omani dignitaries, diplomats and Bangladeshi expatriates joined the celebration enthusiastically. Next year, we are planning a more grand event. Every year, we also celebrate cultural occasions like Bangla New Year and International Mother Language Day. We collaborate with the Bangladeshi diaspora living here to organise cultural and social events. Apart from these regular events, I am planning to organise a painting exhibition where renowned Bangladeshi artists will showcase their art later this year.
How can contact between people be enhanced?
People-to-people contact between the two friendly countries is good. Currently Biman Bangladesh, Oman Air, SalamAir and US Bangla operate 33 direct flights every week between different cities of the two countries. We are encouraging our Omani friends to visit Bangladesh. The procedure to apply for a Bangladesh visa is fast and easy. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visitors from Oman was increasingly growing. I am happy to note that the number of Omani visitors has started to increase again.
There are many places to enjoy in Bangladesh, including beaches, forests, wildlife safaris and adventure sports along with varied cuisine and multi-cultural festivals.