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Bangladesh’s alignment with China could impact neighborhood policies – New Delhi Times


China’s credibility is laid bare after the ports of Hambantota and Gwadar, the non-transparent CPEC deals and the debt trap of African countries.

All is not well with India-Bangladesh relations. The Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh has not secured the appointment of Prime Minister Hasinas despite a four-month wait. His re-election in the 2019 elections in Dhaka slowed down all Indian projects while encouraging Chinese infrastructure projects. Bangladesh has not even recognized Indian aid for the COVID-19 pandemic in the county.

Bangladesh has entrusted the work of the new terminal at MAG Osmania Airport in Sylhet to the Chinese company Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG), despite concerns from India. Sylhet borders the northeast region of India, so is sensitive to the country. These signs of strained relations with India reinforce a recent trend towards China.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan phoned Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina – his first call after almost two years in office – and all of Pakistan was dancing! The Pakistanis have gone gaga over Dhakas allegedly tilting towards Pakistan! Prime Minister Imran Khan called on China to insist on turning neighbors against India, otherwise why would he discuss the situation in Kashmir with Prime Minister Hasina, whom he never cared to talk about earlier? India appreciated Bangladesh’s position that Kashmir is an internal Indian issue.

The shift from Bangladesh to China is explainable, but why to Pakistan? It is a poor country which cannot provide anything but which is always eager to throw the begging bowl to all passers-by. Now Bangladesh is online! Bangladesh shouldn’t be so stupid to ally Pakistan – a country drowned in 90% of loans. It was Imran Khan who called, not Hasina. Dhaka has made significant progress due to the strategic balance and interconnection with India at too many points. Switching to Pakistan is equivalent to switching to Somalia or Ethiopia and is one-way traffic.

Bengalis are much smarter than Pakistanis. Without investing in Bangladesh, Islamabad should not expect much from Dhaka, at least from Hasina, other than the spread of hatred. Aligning with rogue countries like China and Pakistan will cost Bangladesh in the long run. Bangladesh will not buy from India but will always be friends. China offered 97% free access to Bangladesh, but still can’t be a friend. China’s credibility is laid bare after the ports of Hambantota and Gwadar, the non-transparent CPEC deals and the debt trap of African countries.

Pakistan talks about sharing its culture and history with Bangladesh. What culture? What a story? In 1971, the Pakistani general threatened to change the genetics of the Bengalis. Can the wrongdoing of Pakistani soldiers be forgotten? On the contrary, Indo-Bangladeshi ties are rooted in language and culture.

The Indian tango with Bangladesh may have missed but not yet finished. Bangladesh was created with the help of India and China was the last to recognize it. Can Bangladesh be so ungrateful? Although the two countries are seeking closer ties with Dhaka, India is still helping Bangladesh’s economy while China is offering loans purely for personal interest. That’s why the world is fleeing China – the international outcast and a sinking ship. No country ever ventures near this China-Pakistan combo. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is much smarter than the Prime Minister of Pakistan to bypass the Chinese bait to help Pakistan. Just one phone call and the Pakistanis started making sandcastles and imagining landing in Dhaka to look for work. Grant them the premature pleasure for now! Bangladesh has taken money from China, so bows but will not follow Chinese dictates to cultivate close ties with Pakistan. Pakistan is on the only drowning ship as China!

Bangladesh intelligently follows its own interests through independent foreign policies without tilting towards India and China, as balancing relations with both gives maximum advantage. It won’t go against India which is home to five Bangladeshi and Rohingya crore. China is approaching Bangladesh not for development but to pursue its own interests, that is, to provide loans, build infrastructure through Chinese companies, corrupt the government and sell its own products. Bangladesh will be just another market for Chinese products. Camping with China will impact exports to the United States, especially textiles, and divert Dhaka away from the European Union and the United States. Saudi Arabia is also an important factor. Dhaka cannot displease the Arabs.

A morally and economically defunct Pakistan has nothing positive to offer. Thus, he reveled in the discomfort of India. A big lesson for India is not to appease the neighbors but to focus on its people. All major countries – China, United States, Russia – protect their own interests. Why not India? China is pushing India further into the American camp. With the United States, Russia and the EU on its side, India should learn to rise up like Israel and hope that there will be a much smaller China within the next decade.

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