France wants to enhance cooperation with Bangladesh and will have “ever closer” cooperation with countries of the Indo-Pacific, “significantly with Bangladesh”, to address major challenges in terms of climate change and security, a visiting senior French official has said.

“It gives us a golden opportunity to review the common works we pursue together, decide new projects and initiatives across the board,” Bertrand Lortholary, director for Asian Affairs (General Political Directorate) at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, told reporters on Thursday.

France and Bangladesh share the same vision for a “free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and with shared prosperity for all.

Responding to a question, Lortholary said there is a lot the two countries can do and military-to-military cooperation is part of that defence and security cooperation.

“When we talk about security, we also talk about the security of maritime transport, traffic of goods on the oceans and tackle together illegal fishing. We are also talking about the peacekeeping operations where Bangladesh has a prominent position,” he said.

Earlier, the French official had a political consultation with the Bangladesh side led by Director General (West Europe and EU) Kazi Russel Pervez and discussed issues of mutual interest including economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, connectivity, scientific cooperation and issues related to climate change.

Ambassador of France to Bangladesh Marie Masdupuy, Deputy Head of Mission Guillaume Audren de Kerdrel and French Development Agency (FDA) Deputy Director Cecilia Cortese were also present at the meeting.

“We are enjoying a thriving relationship. We have a very solid foundation,” said the French official, referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to France in November 2021.

During Sheikh Hasina’s state visit, the two countries stated their will to further develop the defence and security component of their partnership.

To that end, both countries agreed to strengthen dialogue and continue their cooperation, in particular in the area of training, which was launched during the visit.

The two countries will be holding a second consultation in Paris next year.

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