The participation of Bangladesh at the G-20 summit has attracted considerable interest from the global powers. Bangladesh, situated in South Asia, has emerged as an economic powerhouse and has membership in several regional and international organizations.
As India is the host of the 18th G-20 summit, it has sent invitations to other nations from the Global North and Global South to participate in the summit, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates. This demonstrated India’s dedication to amplifying the perspectives of developing nations and engaging with their issues on the international stage.
Over time, Bangladesh has demonstrated its capacity for leadership within the region and on a global scale by actively promoting and advocating for issues of strategic importance. These include the Rohingya refugee crisis, the challenges surrounding the food and energy crisis, and the increasing polarization with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. These issues not only have regional implications but also have a detrimental impact on the global security landscape. Bangladesh has shown a strong dedication to the global peace and development agenda through its active engagement in summits, particularly with a specific emphasis on climate-related concerns.
Bangladesh received an invitation from India to take part as a guest country in the G-20 summit in 2023. The bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh is characterized by historical, cultural, linguistic, and economic affinities. India regards Bangladesh as a significant ally in the region and an essential participant in the Indo-Pacific strategy. India and Bangladesh have engaged in collaborative efforts about shared concerns, including trade, connectivity, energy, security, health, climate change, and disaster management. Furthermore, India sought to demonstrate its prominent position in both the regional and global arenas by extending an invitation to Bangladesh, which has membership in many international organizations such as the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
India has expressed its recognition and admiration for Bangladesh’s significant role in the region in fostering peace and stability within the region and beyond. Bangladesh has emerged as a significant provider of peacekeeping forces to the United Nations. Furthermore, India sought to emphasize the significance of regional collaboration and integration, particularly in the time of recovery after the pandemic. India and Bangladesh have increased connectivity and facilitated infrastructure development within the region. This has been achieved through various initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
The summit has resulted in the consolidation of Bangladesh’s bilateral ties with India, which serves as its principal trade partner and primary export market in the South Asian region. This has been achieved through the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) about agricultural research, cultural exchange, and taka-to-rupee bilateral transactions. The signing of these Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) will strengthen collaboration and foster a shared understanding between the two nations on a range of matters that are of mutual significance.
Bangladesh has actively pursued avenues to attract foreign investment, facilitate knowledge transfer, and foster innovation from both G-20 member nations and guest countries. During its participation at the summit, Bangladesh has shown its leadership position in both the regional and global context by pushing for strategically critical matters like counterterrorism, poverty alleviation, digital transformation, and regional cooperation. Bangladesh has received praise for its achievements in the pursuit of many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), alongside its humanitarian endeavors in providing shelter and support to the Rohingya refugees. The endeavors of India and Bangladesh within the G-20 framework have made significant contributions to the overarching objectives of South Asia, fostering regional stability across several dimensions. Additionally, Bangladesh has made efforts to promote its tourist attractions.
Bangladesh has derived many advantages from its participation in the G-20. Bangladesh has participated in diplomatic engagements with leading countries about its climate and refugee policies. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prioritized the issues of climate change and poverty reduction, while Bangladesh contributed valuable insights to the global community by sharing its successful experiences in addressing climate change. The participation of Bangladesh at the G-20 summit demonstrated the country’s commitment to addressing climate change, climate funding, and climate mitigation through various means.
Despite its little contribution to climate change, Bangladesh has seen the most severe impacts as a result. The nation is confronted with significant and escalating climate-related hazards, including cyclones, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, saline intrusion, heat stress, and health consequences. If immediate action is not taken, which includes implementing additional measures for adaptation and resilience, there is a possibility that the country’s robust economic potential may be jeopardized. Bangladesh has advocated for the expeditious implementation of the Loss and Damage Mechanism included in the Paris Agreement to provide compensation for the irreversible losses and damages resulting from the impacts of climate change. The nation has furthermore advocated for increased climate finance from rich nations to assist poor nations in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Bangladesh has also pledged to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 21.8 percent by the year 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Additionally, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, along with US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and leaders from seven other nations, participated in the inauguration of the Global Biofuels Alliance at the G20 summit. The primary objective of the alliance is to expedite international partners’ efforts to achieve net zero emissions goals through the facilitation of biofuel trade. These biofuels are sourced from a variety of sources, such as plant materials, agricultural waste, algae, and other renewable sources.
Bangladesh has garnered several strategic and economic advantages with its participation in the G-20 summit in 2023 amidst the prevailing geopolitical competition. Bangladesh has also used sideline diplomacy by actively seeking the support of non-traditional allies, achieving significant diplomatic advancements, and mitigating diplomatic conflicts. During the G-20 Summit, friendliness was seen when Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and United States President Joe Biden engaged by taking a selfie together. This gesture has the potential to indicate a heightened level of collaboration between the two nations on a range of matters that are of shared importance and shifting away from the differences. Moreover, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina further engaged in discussions with many prominent leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In conclusion, Bangladesh has effectively advocated for the concerns of the Global South at the G-20 summit, emphasizing the pressing issues of climate change, the refugee crisis, and food and energy issues. The participation of Bangladesh at the G-20 summit has significance for the South Asian region, as it serves as an indicator of the country’s increasing strategic importance and economic prospects within the region.