The growing Bangladesh-China relationship is ‘not a threat’ to the strategic interests of India, says Dr Ali Riaz.
Dr. Riaz, professor and chair of the Department of Politics and Government at the Illinois State University told UNB news agency in an interview on Saturday,“The investments China is expected to make in Bangladesh doesn’t pose any challenge to the Indian Strategic Interests.”
Understandably India is closely watching the developments because Bangladesh is under India’s sphere of influence and it would like to see the status quo is maintained, he added.
“China, in recent years, has been trying to expand its sphere of influence in Asia,” said Prof Riaz.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the Bangladesh-China relations are now at ‘new historical’ turning point and heading towards a ‘promising future’.
China-Bangladesh cooperation will deliver more fruits for the people of the two countries, and will contribute to peace and stability and development in the region, Xi mentioned.
The analyst said the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping should open doors for further cooperation between these two countries.
“Altogether loan deals of $24 billion have been signed. We’ll have to wait to see how many of them come to fruition,” Prof Riaz said.
Because about a month or so ago, he said, the Finance Minister expressed frustration with regard to China’s non-response to a number of requests for financing some projects.
Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, China has offered Bangladesh to cooperate with it in combating terrorism and maintaining national security and stability through sharing information, capacity building and training.
On Beijing's interest in having counterterrorism cooperation with Dhaka, Prof Riaz said although the relationship between Bangladesh and China has been described as “strategic partnership for cooperation”, there has not been any sign of cooperation in defence and security arenas.
“Therefore, I think, the likelihood of cooperation in counterterrorism is a wish rather than a concrete proposal,” he explained.
Prof Riaz also said to engage in counterterrorism cooperation both countries will require cooperation in security issues.
The long 23-point joint statement mentioned that the Chinese side agreed to consider and encourage Chinese enterprises to explore cooperation on the 22 projects proposed by Bangladesh in power, ICT, river management, infrastructure and other areas on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
There was no mention about deep seaport issue in which many countries have shown interests so far.
Bangladesh was also appreciative of China’s initiative of the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ (the Belt and Road Initiative), believing it will bring important opportunities for Bangladesh’s goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a Developed Country by 2041. - IH