A Red Letter Day

A Red Letter Day: Fifty years on, the ties between Bangladesh and Singapore can only get stronger.

On May 25, 1961, a massive fire in the squatter settlement of Bukit Ho Swee.

The relatively newly independent state of Singapore destroyed more than 2,800 houses.

The number of deaths from the fire might have been only four; the incident nevertheless.

A pivotal point in Singapore’s contemporary history.

The recovery, resettlement, and reconstruction process was a manifestation of the small island nation’s strong determination.

Under the stewardship of the dynamic Lee Kwan Yew as Prime Minister, to rise from the ashes.

A time-spanning less than fifty years, reach a status that has become the envy of many.

Just about a decade later, another country, Bangladesh, is located not too far from Singapore.

Was coming out of the debris of a blood-soaked Liberation War under the leadership of the indomitable.

That saw massive deaths and wanton destruction and trying to provide basic succor to a population.

50 years since its bloody birth, Bangladesh has emerged as a role model for the socio-economic.

Even though its population has more than doubled in the intervening period.

Although the magnitude of the two events differs vastly, the simile underlines the fact that both countries.

Where they are today through sheer hard work, steely determination, and conviction of their respective people.

Common grounds

The two countries formally established diplomatic relations on February 16, 1972.

Exactly 50 years to the day. Singapore’s recognition of Bangladesh as an independent state.

The establishment of diplomatic relations, in just over a month of Bangabandhu’s triumphant return.

A manifestation of the wisdom and pragmatism that has characterized the country’s external relations.

Five decades on, the relationship between the two has grown in depth and dimension and holds promises for a better future.

Even when short on natural resources, both have achieved seemingly unachievable socio-economic.

Development in the face of what one believed to be insurmountable challenges.

Bangladeshis have, for long, looking at Singapore with awe and deep admiration as an economic miracle.

Singaporeans, in turn, continue to visualize Bangladesh as land with huge potentials and opportunities.

Over the 50 years of establishment of formal relationships, contacts between the two countries.

Contacts at all levels have been frequent, multi-faceted, and sustained.

There is also a meeting of the minds and convergence of goals on the regional and international arena on issues.

These include climate change, a rule-based global trade order, threats from terrorism, and extremism.

And finding common grounds in the larger Asia-Pacific region.

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