China needs Bangladesh for economic reasons

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to China after completing her visit to India. The Prime Minister will leave for Beijing from Dhaka next Monday morning. On July 9, he will attend the business forum in Beijing and give a speech. The next day, on July 10, he will have a formal meeting with Li Qiang.

After visiting India, there is a big discussion about this visit in political and diplomatic circles. Some say that Sheikh Hasina is moving ahead with the ‘Chindia’ policy, keeping a balance between China and India. The main motto of Bangladesh’s foreign policy is ‘not enmity with anyone, friendship with all’. From that point of view, there should not be so much discussion about the visit to China after the visit to India. But the foreign minister himself poured some ghee into it. Hasan Mahmud. Last Wednesday, the Foreign Minister said that India has no objection to the Prime Minister’s visit to China. He said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced her visit to China in a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Why would India object to the visit of the Prime Minister of an independent country to another independent country? So the Prime Minister is visiting China with the permission of Delhi? By saying such a thing, the foreign minister has given an opportunity to the opposition party to play politics. Sino-Indian antagonism is now at its peak and keeping that in mind, Bangladesh actually wants to say that while maintaining good relations with India, Bangladesh wants to advance its relations with other countries. Although the blood relation is with India, a partner of the liberation war, Bangladesh has to maintain commercial and financial relations with China for practical reasons. What India thinks is a different matter, but China cannot be pushed away by Bangladesh’s needs. Because China is Bangladesh’s main trade and development partner country.

India-Bangladesh relations have reached great heights through Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi, but the Tinta water agreement has created hostility towards India in the minds of the people of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is disappointed with India’s action on the Teesta. Narendra Modi has said that an Indian technical team will visit Bangladesh to assist Bangladesh in the Teesta water management while discussing the Chinese proposal for a new initiative for Teesta water management. Water experts in Bangladesh clearly say that sending such a technical team after withdrawing from the agreement means that India has taken a strategy rather than implementing the agreement. Not only that, when Bangladesh wants to go to a different management with China, they themselves are delaying all arrangements. Experts in Bangladesh think that India is creating two problems with Teesta by creating one crisis with another crisis. The new strategy of longevity is also seen as India’s new game.

India is watching the increasing Chinese influence in the economy of Bangladesh with importance. Because China has great enmity with India. There are often bloody clashes between the two countries on the border. India is facing China in a diplomatic war as well. So India does not look favorably on Bangladesh-China relations. It is difficult to understand the level of Bangladesh’s relationship with China in this India-China rivalry-friendship game.

China needs Bangladesh. Because Bangladesh, immersed in dollar crisis, needs money and only China can provide it. A day earlier, former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said that China needs Bangladesh for rapid industrialization. He also mentioned that China has played an important role in the last 15 years. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visits to China in 2010 and 2014 laid the foundation for the current warm relationship between the two countries. China has become a reliable partner of Bangladesh in the field of infrastructure development by cooperating in big projects including Padma bridge, tunnel under Karnaphuli river. So far, China has assisted Bangladesh in the construction of 21 bridges, 550 kilometers of roads including 11 highways and 27 energy and power projects. Trade between the two countries is also increasing. On July 1, 2020, China has given duty-free benefits to 97 percent of Bangladeshi products. Later it was increased to 98 percent. China is a partner of interest and strong motivation and enthusiasm to work with Bangladesh to achieve Bangladesh Prosperity Mission, Vision-2041 and Smart Bangladesh. So how can Bangladesh avoid a relationship built on such a solid foundation and that too only because of India?

Friendship with China should also be seen from the point of view of profit and loss. Bangladesh imports the most goods from China as a single country and China is also a major partner of Bangladesh in lending. Former Foreign Minister K Abdul Momen made it clear, ‘China has the money we need’. On the other hand, considering the geo-political situation of Bangladesh, it is natural to want to increase the economic and political closeness.

Author: Chief Editor, Dhaka Journal.