Like all other nations, Bangladesh also keeps continuing dreaming of economic emancipation and fostering well-being of the people through comprehensive development. In recent parlance of short-term goal of the country, it may be coined as the ascendency to a ‘middle-income country’. Bangladesh Navy, being a disciplined force, and a vital instrument of the country dreamt to contribute in this pursuit of the nation. In other word, being the instrumental organ of the country, navy should have possessed a planned and thoughtful desire in fulfilling the national dream of prosperity and development.
Bangladesh is a ‘white list’ nation declared by IMO and potentially hosts Bay-of-Bengal at the south. Nonetheless, Bangladesh is yet to show its meaningful success as a maritime nation. Nurturing with right spirit, Bangladesh has all the possibility to blossom as a maritime nation. It can be considered that Bangladesh Navy being its bequest advantages has the onus to steer Bangladesh as a maritime nation.
Highly qualified and professional officers with vast experiences are often retiring from the active service at the pinnacle of their career, where they still have the necessary cognitive and physical potentials to contribute to the maritime arena and in boarder sense towards the development of the nation. Potential capacity, in absence of appropriate platform or opportunity at one stage, cannot flourish; it just dies down.
It was long felt that Bangladesh Navy should patronise a maritime research oriented institution with an aim to contribute towards national economy and at the same time to create a platform for the maritime thinkers to flourish. Time elapsed but navy could not form such a platform for various commitments. Over the past decade, Bangladesh Navy tremendously expanded both in terms of size and shape. Navy’s horizon broadened to a far greater extent especially after the conclusive verdict on maritime boundary disputes. The formation of a research centre remained still elusive and a future desired goal. Research platforms would, in fact, contribute to maritime capacity development beyond recognition. Research has always been, if not sometimes, a neglected sector in the third world countries. It needs support to sustain an initial setback. However, at some points, Naval Headquarters started contemplating seriously on establishing a maritime research centre and carried out thorough study by considering various research institutions at home and abroad, and then without further ostensible procrastinations, Naval Headquarters showed the ingenuity and fortitude to inaugurate the navy’s long desired goal of setting a premier maritime research & development institute – ‘Bangladesh Institute of Maritime Research and Development (BIMRAD)’ on 03 July 2018.
BIMRAD is a platform for maritime thinkers of all level. It is a platform for all levels of professionals who retire with the vast experience of maritime knowledge and still have the potentiality to contribute, side by side, it is also for other maritime thinkers of different institutions that really want to contribute to the blue economy sector.
Over the past years, a handful number of maritime institutions both in private and government level has been established in Bangladesh. Although someone may raise questions on their effectiveness as maritime institution towards fulfilling the national commitment but the positivity is that there are people who desire to contribute to maritime sector. BIMRAD will try its best to match their hopes and aspirations.
Despite many initiatives, Bangladesh is yet to develop as a full bloomed maritime nation. Bangladesh was once thriving as a seafaring nation but made a nosedive at later stage putting the whole sector in jeopardy. Shipbuilding industry was also prosperous but in present days, it somehow continues without much success and only just fulfilling national demand with a few exceptions of shipbuilding orders from abroad. Fishing industry, especially deep-sea fishing, is another sector which could not contribute towards national economic development as expected. Lack of adequately equipped fishing fleet and appropriate research on fishing areas in Bay-of-Bengal, we still fall far behind than other maritime nations. Another important field is maritime tourism which did not prosper much. Although, Bangladesh has all the possibility to flourish in this field as a huge source of earning foreign currency. Bay of Bengal contains huge untapped natural resources but that demands careful planning for exploration and exploitation, and also entails extensive research work for extracting as well as preserving those resources.
The genesis of the BIMRAD lies in the long-felt need to fill an acute intellectual void by providing a common platform for discourse amongst maritime related institutions, organisations, think tanks and disciplines of the country. Since its inception, BIMRAD made continuous efforts to fulfill its objectives. As a part of the effort is to grow maritime awareness amongst the general people through publication of regular magazine “PAAL”, and concomitantly the maiden research journal has already been on circulation. BIMRAD hosted a state-of-the-art seminar in November 2018 on “Maritime Good Governancetowards Sustainable Development” successfully drawing keynote speakers from USA, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. BIMRAD also participated two international seminars in India. Albeit other initiatives like maritime related projects, enhancement of Bay of Bengal connectivity, improvement of coastal people’s livelihood, etc are placed in the BIMRAD’s research area of work. Up for one year celebration, BIMRAD aims at carrying out the benefit of blue economy to the door steps of the deprived people.
Despite huge potentiality, Bangladesh is yet to prosper as a full-fledged maritime nation. With the burden of huge population and scarce of land resources, today or tomorrow we have to look for the alternative resources at sea and, most importantly, the resources must be preserved for the future generation for which we need to develop appropriate research platforms in maritime sector. I hope, BIMRAD would endeavour to fulfill this commitment at the best showing the light of hope and pragmatic research outcomes.
BDST: 1552 HRS, JULY 1, 2019