The Five Decades of Making, Unmaking and Remaking of Bangladesh Foreign Policy

Delwar Hossaina and Md. Shariful Islamb

a Professor of International Relations, University of Dhaka, and the Director of the East Asia Center, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

b Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.


This paper tries to understand the five decades of Bangladesh foreign policy by looking at three phases, i.e. making, unmaking and remaking period. From an international basket case, Bangladesh is now a ‘development miracle’, a ‘role model of development’ to many. Behind such success of Bangladesh in the last fifty years, the foreign policy of the country played a crucial role. The paper argues that though there was a promising beginning for Bangladesh foreign policy under the Bangabandhu regime, in the unmaking period of Bangladesh foreign policy under the military and BNP regime, Bangladesh largely failed in shaping a proactive and visionary foreign policy. However, in the remaking period of Bangladesh foreign policy under the Awami League regime, Bangladesh succeeded in formulating a proactive foreign policy due to the visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina. Thus, the paper suggests that Bangladesh needs to continue the current foreign policy priorities of the Sheikh Hasina government, focusing on economic diplomacy.

Keywords: Bangladesh foreign policy, diplomacy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, non-alignment, balancing and multilateralism.


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