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Muazzem Ali: An accomplished diplomat with great sense of humour

Bangladesh former foreign secretary and ex-envoy to India Muazzem Ali who passed away in Dhaka on Monday played a major role in shaping Indo-Bangladesh ties over five years since 2014 and was one of key pillars of Sondhar Odhai or golden period in Indo-Bangla ties.

A seasoned diplomat Ali was no stranger to India having served in Delhi in 1980s as the Deputy High Commissioner. His stint in Delhi as envoy was marked by consistency as two PMs developed a strong personal chemistry.

Ali who was popular among the members of the diplomatic community in Delhi and a had great sense of humour. He and the writer of this piece were often engaged in humourous conversations over journalistic pieces.

Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar expressed shock over his death and extended condolences to his family. In a tweet, Jaishankar said: “He was a good friend and a strong partner for so many of us.”

“Ambassador Muazzem Ali, my counterpart for three years, was a man of great experience, knowledge and erudition. As a former Foreign Secretary and Deputy High Commissioner to India, he was familiar with the bilateral relationship. What he brought to the job though was his personal commitment in taking the relationship to new heights, which was achieved during his term in office. I worked with Ambassador Muazzem closely in the furtherance of our common objectives and always found his views and opinions to be of great value. He will be missed as a friend and in diplomatic circles,” India’s envoy to USA and Foreign Secretary designate Harsh Vardhan Shringla told ET.

Ali had joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1968 and defected during the 1971 Liberation War. As a founding member of the Bangladesh Mission in Washington, he was active in the lobbying process for political support for Bangladesh’s independence movement.

After independence, he was directly involved in working toward the US recognition of Bangladesh and the World Bank and UN participation in the massive reconstruction efforts in war-ravaged country from 1971 to 1975. He was Bangladesh’s Ambassador to France, Portugal Iran, Turkmenistan, Syria, Lebanon and Bhutan during his decades long career. He also served in Warsaw, Bangladesh Mission in New York and was Consul General in Jeddah.

Ali was also Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO in Paris. He was involved in the resolution on proclamation of February 21, Bengali Language Martyr’s Day, as the International Mother Language Day.

Source: Economic Times