How Football Resurrected Argentina-Bangladesh Relations – The Diplomat read full article at

How Football Resurrected Argentina-Bangladesh Relations

Bangladeshi followers of Argentina have fun in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after the World Cup semi closing soccer match between Argentina and Croatia in Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

Credit score: AP Picture/Mahmud Hossain Opu

Throughout the 1971 World Desk Tennis Championships, a 19-year-old American participant named Glenn Cowan by chance boarded a shuttle bus transporting the red-shirted Chinese language nationwide staff. The staff’s star participant, Zhuang Zedong, approached Cowan to shake his hand, converse with him by way of an interpreter, and provides him a present. The U.S. staff was later prolonged an all-expenses-paid invitation to go to China by Mao Zedong, the founding chief of the Folks’s Republic, in what grew to become generally known as “ping-pong diplomacy.” America lifted its embargo towards China on June 10, 1971, adopted by the opening in relations between the 2 international locations caused by ping-pong diplomacy.

The identical yr, Bangladesh, a brand-new nation, debuted on the world stage following a nine-month lengthy warfare for independence. Because the nation’s founding, Bangladesh has adhered to the motto “friendship to all, malice to none,” and has taken half in a wide range of multilateral boards. Dhaka needs to ascertain pleasant bilateral relations with international locations starting from Asia to Europe to America.

From the start, Bangladesh discovered a buddy in Argentina. Victoria Ocampo, Jorge Luis Bergs, Reverend Father Ismael Quiles, and different distinguished intellectuals, students, artists, legal professionals, and authors of impressed and guided the intelligentsia of Argentina and Venezuela to denounce the brutal actions of Pakistan and search assist for warfare refugees in the course of the turbulent months of the liberation warfare of Bangladesh. The opening of a diplomatic mission in Argentina in 1972 marked the start of the official diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Argentina.

However the golden age abruptly resulted in 1978, when Argentina closed its embassy in Dhaka. Bangladeshi nationals have to journey to New Delhi, India to be able to get hold of Argentine visas, because the Argentinian Embassy there additionally handles relations with Bangladesh.

There have been few notable developments within the bilateral relationship since, except for the official visit of the previous overseas secretary of Bangladesh, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, to Argentina in 2011 and the trip to Dhaka by Argentine Undersecretary of International Coverage Claudio Javier Rozencwaig, and Argentine Ambassador to India and Bangladesh Hugo Gobbi, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

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Nonetheless, the Bangladeshi public consists of many enthusiastic followers of the Argentine nationwide soccer staff, one thing that obtained a substantial amount of media consideration in the course of the FIFA World Cup in December 2022. The organising of large screens in numerous places throughout the nation to look at the Messi-led renaissance of Argentina and the 1000’s of followers who gathered to have fun every aim and triumph of their most well-liked staff caught the eye of everybody from FIFA to the Argentine Soccer Affiliation and their residents as effectively.

As quickly because the final whistle sounded within the Argentina-France World Cup closing sport, Bangladeshi Argentine followers of all ages and social courses got here out onto the streets and began to fly the flags of their beloved adopted nation. Virtually each nook of the nation noticed victory marches after Argentina’s closing triumph.

Argentina expressed its love and respect to Bangladeshis in return. Argentina’s soccer affiliation has already expressed gratitude to the Bangladeshi folks for his or her unconditional assist. A couple of Argentine journalists began to tweet in Bengali in support of the Bangladesh Cricket Crew after their latest triumph towards India in a bilateral ODI sequence.

What’s extra, Argentina’s International Minister Santiago Cafiero announced in a tweet that his nation plans to reopen the Argentinian embassy in Dhaka. He cited elevated commerce and a shared curiosity in partaking in a spread of areas, together with sports activities. Cafiero is anticipated to travel to Dhaka in March 2023 to supervise the reopening of the embassy.

Argentina and Bangladesh’s shared appreciation and respect might solely be the start of exploring new alternatives for bilateral relations. The 2 international locations have solely been in a position to contact the floor of the complete potential of their growing relationship to date. Argentina exported $450 million value of products to Bangladesh in 2020; that elevated to $791 million in fiscal yr 2021–2022. Wheat, soybean meal, and soybean oil have been Argentina’s prime exports to Bangladesh. Because the world is dealing with a tough time of rising costs and world inflation, Argentina could also be a possible different marketplace for Bangladesh.

In distinction, Bangladesh offered items to Argentina value $17.3 million in 2020. Bangladesh’s exports to Argentina have grown over the previous 25 years at a yearly fee of 6.46 p.c, from a low base of $3.61 million in 1995. Knit sweaters, knit t-shirts, and non-knit males’s fits have been the principle exports from Bangladesh to Argentina. The ready-made-garment business contributed greater than 88 percent of the exports in FY2021-22.

Based on a resolution handed by the United Nations Common Meeting (UNGA), Bangladesh will graduate from the “least developed nation” (LDC) class to the “growing nation” class on November 24, 2026. After that, Bangladesh will face new challenges, as it’s going to progressively lose the privileges, quotas, and rights related to being “underdeveloped.” Argentina could be a possible marketplace for Bangladesh if it desires to diversify its garment business. Argentina may additionally import world-class items from Bangladesh at decrease prices, akin to ceramics, melamine, ships, and prescribed drugs. Moreover, the choice on the visa waiver agreement for Bangladeshi diplomats and authorities officers could also be reevaluated by Bangladesh and Argentina.

Regardless of the distinction between Seventies ping-pong diplomacy and twenty first century soccer diplomacy between Bangladesh and Argentina, grassroots cooperation was the important thing in reviving state-level contacts in each situations. The trail to a bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Argentina reemerged via people-to-people alternate, the media revolution, and sports activities diplomacy.

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About Shafik A. Rahma

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