Dhaka defends Beijing’s Belt and Road project of China

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Countries must not become “isolated in the name of sovereignty,” said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, striking a counter to India’s tough position against China’s Belt and Road Initiative during a discussion on Asian connectivity projects.

High costs involved

South Asian countries are the least integrated compared to ASEAN countries,” conceded Congress leader and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, speaking during the discussion “Asia’s New Normal” 

Chinese collaboration for building infrastructure in Asian countries

Chinese are now coming to build projects in Pakistan and in Sri Lanka they are increasingly seeing the exorbitant costs of Chinese aid.

Bangladesh’s  concerns grow over the “debt trap” that the massive infrastructure projects are leading smaller SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka into.

India’s Stand

In May this year, India had refused to attend China’s Belt and Road Forum, on grounds that it was not transparent, led to heavy indebtedness, and most importantly, over sovereignty issues as the B&RI’s flagship project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

One belt one road

  • China substantiated its integrated blueprint of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)—the twin initiatives covered by the conceptual umbrella of the “One Belt One Road”. China’s soaring vision envisages that the Silk Roads, once completed, would impact 4.4 billion people and, within a decade, generate trade above a jaw-dropping $2.5 trillion.
  • The Belt and Road refers to the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt”
  • The “belt and road” run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asian economic circle at one end with the developed European economic circle at the other, says the government report.

India’s Concern

India’s main objection is on the principle that the B&RI includes projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that are located in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit Baltistan, including the Diamer Bhasha Dam, 180-MW hydel power projects, and more expressways and economic zones along the Karakoram Highway built in the 1970s.

Diagram: Opportunities in 5 key areas

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