Editor’s NoteDelwar Hossain Editor
While celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh, the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA) has launched its flagship journal, The Journal of Bangladesh and Global Affairs, to undertake and promote research on Bangladesh and global affairs. The field of international relations as an academic discipline started its journey in the sub-continent in 1947 with the establishment of the Department of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The days of the Cold War necessitated the study of international relations in every corner of the world to deal with the challenges emanating from the constant rivalries between the two opposing power houses—the West and the East. The independence of Bangladesh was an event of the Cold War era that marked a new urgency in marshalling foreign policy and global affairs for domestic changes. The Mujibnagar government, inspired by the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, garnered global support for the liberation of Bangladesh.
Having achieved the victory through blood and sacrifices, tears and pains on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign nation in the world. The return of Bangabandhu to the liberated soils of Bangladesh on 10 January 1972 completed the War journey. Bangabandhu embarked on a global diplomatic struggle as the Head of the government and he quickly scripted the foreign policy dictum of Bangladesh – friendship to all, malice towards none. From Bangabandhu to Sheikh Hasina, in the last fifty years, Bangladesh has ensured an active presence in the arena of global diplomacy, international peace and security. The country is now seen as a symbol of peace, friendship, cooperation and humanitarianism. The country has been a strong voice in the global platforms for the LDCs, for the marginal section of the society. The country is a strong advocate of a ‘culture of peace’, ‘humanitarian diplomacy’ and ‘enlightened foreign policy’.
Despite Bangladesh’s strong and active presence in the promotion of peaceful international relations, the broader scholarship on South Asian foreign policy or international relations has largely been dominated by the Indian and Pakistani foreign policy discourse. In the name of South Asia, issues of Indo-Pak relations and their international relations took a prominent position creating a typical image of the region where the scholarship on Bangladesh foreign policy has largely been ignored by the global academic community. Besides, IR scholarly community has not seriously addressed this marginalization in foreign policy and global affairs related research and policy analysis. Meanwhile, Bangladesh foreign policy has already completed fifty years of its journey.
Against the above backdrop, this Special issue provides broader perspectives/reflections on Bangladesh’s foreign policy and diplomatic strategies in the last fifty years, focusing on the achievements and challenges. The issue becomes important because an in-depth study on Bangladesh foreign policy in the last fifty years is absent. Thus, this special issue fills that gap. This special issue can work as a reference point for the students, researchers, and scholars in Bangladesh and beyond working on Bangladesh foreign policy and international relations. In addition, to move forward Bangladesh and its foreign policy, it becomes essential to identify the…[Read the full Editor’s Note from here]