Tripartite Nuclear Cooperation: Expectations of Bangladesh
Dr. Md. Shafiqul Islam
The libertarian Bengali scientist, engineers, and politicians had profound hopes and expectations in their heart that the neglected and underprivileged East Pakistan would become developed in the knowledge and practice of science and technology. Will West Pakistan only remain developed in nuclear science and technology? Is it the fact that the intellect and talent living in East Pakistan is less than that of the West Pakistanis? No.
In fact, had there beenno contribution of the Bengali scientists and engineers, it would not have been possible for Pakistan to have a nuclear reactor so quickly. The Bengali intellectuals did not, in anyway, accept that the Bengalis would remain backward only due to political repression. That’s why, in 1961, under the pressure from the politicians, scientists and engineers of East Pakistan, the then Pakistani government decided to construct a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, Pabna of East Pakistan. From that day onwards Rooppur became known over the global arena as the site of the nuclear power plant.
In the wake of the political upheaval of 1971, the Pakistani government eschewed/forsook the decision to construct the nuclear power plant in Rooppur. In 1973, the prime minister of the independent Bangladesh, father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission to accomplish the Rooppur nuclear power plant project and thus to fulfil the dream of the Bengali people.Prior to the establishment/formation of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, in 1972, Bangabandhu sent a few bright and talented scientists and engineers to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre of India for conducting research, with a view to establishing a renowned atomic energy research center in the newly independent Bangladesh. It was because the father of the nation did not forget how the West Pakistanis constructed a nuclear reactor through atomic research,utilizing our talents and resources. By the earnest/passionate desire of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, 265 acre of land was allotted in Savar under the leadership of eminent nuclear scientist Dr. M A Wazed Miah. Later on, a foremost atomic energy research facility of the country was established there.
Due to the mournfully unexpected death of Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman, in spite of the establishment of the atomic energy commission, the initiative to accomplish/complete the Rooppur nuclear project was shelved. Luckily, the son in law of the father of the nation, eminent nuclear scientist Dr. M A WazedMiah, owing to his work in Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, insistently demanded to the government for the completion of the Rooppur nuclear project.At the same time, by establishing a strong relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency, he played a significant role by contributing in fundamental tasks like- role of atomic energy in national energy policy, nuclear power policy and action plan, infrastructure and human resource development, essential for the accomplishment of the project. At one stage, he even shouldered the huge responsibility of accomplishing the project.