The sun hasn't even risen on Monday morning when some 500 Bangladeshi expatriates gathered outside the embassy in Abu Dhabi to mark their Independence Day, according to report of Khaleej Times, UAE newspaper.
The early morning gathering, Muhammad Imran, Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE, told Khaleej Times, was for a special reason. "Our celebrations this year is special as Bangladesh has met for the first time three requirements set by the United Nations to graduate from least developing countries to developing countries. So, all Bangladeshis across the world decided to sing the national anthem together," Imran said.
The ambassador also hoisted the national flag at the embassy at 6.30. The expat community also watched the celebrations in their home country live on the big screen at the embassy.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is considering three aspects of per capita Gross National Income, Human Assets Index and Economic Vulnerability Index.
Bangladesh has to maintain the progress seen in these three aspects to be recognised as a developing country. Ambassador Imran noted that expatriates have played a significant role in helping Bangladesh get this recognition from the UN. The ambassador said the message for Bangladeshis is to put more effort.
"Instead of celebrating the achievement with a holiday, the Bangladeshi missions are working extra time and days from 7am to 7pm and March 20 to 26. This is to create awareness among people about the achievement and need to put extra effort from now. We are working on National Day too," Imran said.
Bonding with UAE strong
Talking about the bilateral relations with the UAE, he said, Bangladeshis had in a humble way made significant contributions to the UAE economy.
"Bangladeshis here are proudly taking part in development of the UAE. In 1970s and 80s there was more involvement of Bangladeshi professionals in the UAE economy. In the agriculture sector, most of the workers are from Bangladesh. Janata Bank was one of the two foreign banks to start operations here. Not many people know that in 1970s a Bangladeshi company constructed a 90-km highway in the western region and Abu Dhabi's first sewerage system was designed and implemented by Bangladeshi company," Imran recollected.
Both Bangladesh and the UAE were formed in 1971, he said and noted the love shown by the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
"In 1984, Sheikh Zayed visited Bangladesh and stayed for 10 days. Normally the state visit is for two-three days. The bonding between two countries is very old and strong," the ambassador added. Celebrations continued with a diplomatic reception later in the evening.