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  • Bangladesh PM’s trip to China: India Watching Closely

    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent trip to China, following close on the heels of her January trip to India, demonstrates Bangladeshi leaders are leveraging the country’s increasingly important geostrategic position vis-à-vis Asia’s two rising powers.  India is watching closely and with a certain degree of concern China’s growing interest in establishing links to South Asia, India’s traditional sphere of influence.  The U.S., too, must find new ways to partner with Bangladesh – a country with the world’s third largest Muslim population – to encourage democratic trends, steady development of the country’s economy, and efforts to keep Islamist extremists at bay.

    According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, during Sheikh Hasina’s trip to China, she gained pledges from China to finance further development of the Chittagong sea port as well as rail links from Chittagong through Burma to Yunnan province in China.  Though not specifically in the joint statement between the two countries, this move will give Bangladesh the upgrades it needs to increase productivity and capabilities in Chittagong and give China an access route to the Indian Ocean for its goods. The port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, along with ports in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Burma, is often cited as a new outlet for China’s strategic and commercial purposes, giving it access to the Indian Ocean, a counter to Indian influence, and an alternative to the Malacca Straits route.

    Yet, in her trip to India in January, Prime Minister Hasina also agreed to the opening up of the Chittagong port to goods shipped to and from India, Nepal, and Bhutan. In addition, the United States has been active in Chittagong with the USS Patriot, a mine countermeasures ship, finishing a week long part call there on March 19.  The USS Patriot is already the third U.S. naval vessel to visit Chittagong this year.  Thus, it seems Bangladesh is seeking to leverage its strategically located port to bring in as much business, partnerships, and naval visits as possible to increase the country’s economic and political status.

    At a multilateral level, press reports indicate Prime Minister Hasina appealed to China to be more active in its observer role in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).  In the joint statement, Bangladesh “expressed support for Chinese efforts to enhance cooperation with the SAARC community.”

    The U.S. must also remain closely engaged in promoting South Asia regional cooperation, serving as an active observer within the SAARC. Asian allies Japan, South Korea, and Australia also have observer status within the SAARC.  In coordination with these Asian allies, the U.S. should encourage South Asia countries to continue to lower barriers to trade, increase mechanisms for consolidating democracy, and improve counterterrorism cooperation efforts.

    The increased Chinese engagement in South Asia and visits like that of the Bangladeshi PM to Beijing highlight the need for the U.S. to demonstrate the benefits of its own leadership and influence in the region and to collaborate more closely with India on initia­tives that strengthen economic development and democratic trends in the region.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Bangladesh PM’s trip to China: India Watching Closely

    1. Barbara Frances Delo says:

      China is a beautiful and proud country, as well as a strong economic power. More and more it is reaching out globally in other areas as well.

      It plays a leadership role in ASEAN, has shared military and nuclear knowledge with Iran and Pakistan, has a strong presence and population in the Sudan and Indonesia, and it's diplomats are seen around the globe in places like South America, Canada, Europe.

      America must recognize and give due respect to this nation, but also recognize our different cultures and national interests. America is right to strengthen its alliances in South East Asia. And the American people must realize that there is a security price to be paid if we continue to depend on the Chinese government to finance our programs and purchase our debt.

    2. Neel123 says:

      Bangladesh, like any other nation, would pursue better ties with the powerful nations, in order to achieve economic development and security.

      There is no reason for India to lose sleep over it, specially when the current Bangladeshi Govt. is well disposed towards it, and has acted decisively against the anti-Indian elements operating from its soil.

      @ Barbara Frances Delo,

      What is so good about China sharing military and nuclear knowledge with Iran and Pakistan ? Would you have the same good feeling if India did the same with Venezuela, Cuba, or Vietnam ?

    3. Ted Stein, President says:

      China is developing treaties with India, Argentina/Brazil, Africa, to name a few. They are positioning themselves to control/own virtually all the raw material to make steel and other industrial materials. They are aligning themselves with developing countries for their raw material and farmland, but more importantly as trading partners. They are playing chess while we play checkers.

    4. MBI Munshi (Dhaka, Bangladesh) says:

      Americans seem to be under the impression that India has evolved into a natural ally of the United States and is an appropriate counterweight to China in the region. On both counts the assumption is utterly wrong. India has its own agenda and is unlikely to play second fiddle to the United States. Its recent military and civil nuclear deal with Russia should be an eye opener. Even more so than China India views American presence in the neighbourhood (i.e. Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh) with resentment and as a threat to its own interests. While the US should be wary of China’s growth and potential it should not lose sight of what India is doing. There remains the possibility that India, Russia and China could build an alliance against the US and so should proceed with caution.

    5. Pingback: Book Review - THE INDIA DOCTRINE (1947-2007) - Page 15 - Pakistan Defence Forum

    6. Khalil Rahman,USA says:

      Bangladesh relation with china is badly needed to balance the regional pressure of India.

      To be a good neighbor India should show more generosity which is very much deficient at the present moment.

      With china by our side both countries will benefit.

      Present PM visit may not proceed any further is the fear.

    7. Moinuddin Naser, New says:

      This is not understood, how America will demonstrate its influence in the region by extending collaboration with India, when India is loosing its grip on its neighbors, because of its' own myopic vision in terms of cooperation with the nieghbors. China outshines India in creating relations with small coutries in South Asia. As such it is quite natural that extending cooperation with India, the USA may develop bilateral relations but it will ultimately dissipate the influence of America among other small nations.

    8. The Peoples says:

      Bangladesh is known as democratic country

      But as per article (section) 70 of Bangladesh Constitution, only key person or party chief. can take decision none the else

      the people. or society. .

      Due to which Billions of hard earned money of common people are spent in conducting huge number suit like as 37.00 Lac ( Thirty Seven Lac ) till may, 2019. in the court which may not be settled even in life time nor have any certainty of any relief .

      NOW THE QUESTION WHO ARE DIRECT BENEFICIERIES ?

      Contesting parties are compelled to spend billions of Dollar in addition to valuable times of their active life, year after year although more then 35 % people are living below the poverty line…

      ARE THESE PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES ?

      Why these colonial laws and legal system are not changed ?

      Experienced Peoples are in opinion that Bangladesh can not face the track of advancement of science and technology like other Asian Countries nearby Bangladesh

      Even Bangladesh will not be able to dream the face of digital world with existing colonial laws and legal system.

      The experienced persons are in opinion that the present legal systems and procedures have no rule in productive activities to change the fate of people or the poverty of the country rather helping the rent seeking or interest seeking process from the grass root level .

      Third point which is most significant and important are the lack of accountability in every stage of life for people or Government Personal / Officials which will encourage the growth of terrorism .

      Now it has became imperative to reform / replace the concerned ministry & commission / body consisting of expert of political sciences / social welfares , expert of relevant subjects of science and technology. like medicine, engineering, agricultural sciences , information technology , telecommunications sciences , business and commerce etc .

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