Bangladesh Heritage Foundation (BHF) has organized a Colloquium entitled “Do values in foreign affairs have value?” on February 23, 2020, Sunday, at BHF Library Room. The Colloquium was chaired by Mr. Waliur Rahman, Chairman of Bangladesh Heritage Foundation and Aide to Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on ICTBD. Ambassador Krishnan Srinivasan, Former Indian Foreign Secretary, and Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, addressed the Colloquium. Mr. Srinivasan served successfully as Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh from February 1989 to March 1992.
The Colloquium was also attended by Major General A.K. Mohammad Ali Sikder Psc (Retd) MBA, Columist & Politico-Security Analyst and Managing Director, ETV; Syed Badrul Ahsan, Editor- in-charge, The Asian Age; Mr. Rabb H Majumdar, Editor & Publisher, The security World; Mr.Vishal Jyoti Das, Second Secretary (Visa), High Commission of India; Prof. Farhad Hossain, Chairman, Department of English and Vice- Chairman, Bangladesh Heritage Foundation; Ms. Samshad Nowreen, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of Dhaka and other experts from different universities and research centers.
Ambassador Krishnan Srinivasan in his address described some ideas about Indian values and some other values in foreign policy. He said “We have to begin with the League of Nations when we were roll one country and when India was the title for independence. At League of Nations we find that people like Sarojini Naidu who said we shall be a light to the world. Very similar view was expressed by Swami Vivekananda indicating that India was ready to play a role as a kind of Guru the world it is it became independent”, he added.
Undivided India had a kind of global mission long before it became independent as expressed by a representative at the League of Nations. Now we Jump to Independence itself and the views of Indian foreign policy expressed by Pandit Nehru. His views and the views of Indian leadership, this is post independence, based on Buddhism Hinduism and the views of Mahatma Gandhi. They covered topics like colonialism, anti-colonialism, the spirit of Unity in Asia, nonviolence of Mahatma Gandhi, non-alignment, the five principles of peaceful coexistence and opposition to nuclear weapons. This is more or less the package that the Nehru and his colleagues’ growth to India at the time of independence. These values of India generally or completely were dismissed. The good thing is that it has not impacted on foreign policies of India yet. But it is not clear how long it will be the same, he added.
Mr. Waliur Rahman said, “it is difficult to value any judgement. Before the British looted India an uneducated Muslim Alauddin Bin Khilji destroyed the finest seat of learning in the ancient world - harbinger of value, value tools, Students and Researchers used to come from East and West. The Chinese Scholars and students were always the majority. Long after words, what did the British do? The British fought two Opium Wars with the Chinese to subdue them! What values and what Diplomacy.”
This is the Asian century. The economic Oravitas has decisively shifted towards Asia. The Western powers are uncomfortable. Conspirers are being hatred to push back China, he added.
He also said, foreign affairs inherent values are powerful but they are more often not thrown to back burner in the face of overwhelming politico-military interest. It has ripened in the past, happening now and future does not bode well either. But Asia is moving ahead values of foreign policy making a strategic power sharing, notwithstanding.