Bangladesh is to join the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) as its 26th member at its July 28 meeting in Kuala Lumpur, bringing the country closer to the region's major economies.
"The ARF meeting is intended to encourage dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern in the Asia-Pacific region. With the admission, it'll be a new horizon for us," Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin told BDNews.
Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan will lead the Bangladesh delegation.
"We have a good track record in the UN peacekeeping missions, counter-terrorism and disaster management. With our entrance, we hope to contribute to the forum," the foreign secretary was quoted by the Bangladesh Observer as saying.
The 12th meeting of the ARF held in Vietnam in July last year welcomed and agreed to ASEAN's consensus on admission of Bangladesh as the 26th participant in the ARF.
The ARF brings together 10 ASEAN countries along with representatives from Australia, Canada, China, the EU, India, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, East Timor and the US.
Apart from strengthened cooperation on counter-terrorism, prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improved maritime security would also prominently come up in the discussion.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to participate in the meeting. The US is going to sign a framework agreement implementing the ASEAN-US Enhanced Partnership.