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Bangladesh Meshes Indo Pacific and Belt and Road Initiative to Advantage

Published Nov 14, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

Big Power relations has become a challenge for the developing countries of South Asia and South-East Asia given the competition that is in full flow for influence in the region by the regional and global actors.

Without falling into a zero sum trap, Bangladesh is successfully meshing the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States with China’s Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative to seek development grants and assistance from the worlds largest economies for national growth and fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Dhaka Global Dialogue and said the present century is being considered as the ‘Century of Asia’ in terms of socio-economic development and prosperity. “As a result, peace and harmony must be maintained for the prosperity of the region.”

Bangladesh joined the BRI or Belt and Road Initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Dhaka in 2016 while investments under the Indo Pacific Strategy are being considered in the country.

“Bangladesh is primarily looking at those initiatives from a development point of view,” Md Shahriar Alam said while speaking at a panel discussion on the first day of the ‘Dhaka Global Dialogue.’

Belt and Road Initiative is Chinese President’s key proposal for fulfilling the Chinese dream externally

So far, BRI has not revealed any strategic or security baggage which the recipients of infrastructure funds may be required to carry as a cost of economic and humanitarian benefits of the projects.

Amid consensus opinion about the ‘eastward shift of economic gravity’ following the rise of China and India as global economic superpowers, the US has also readjusted its strategic focus on Asia and the Pacific region.

At the Delhi Dialogue justifying the Indian approach to the BRI, Indian Congress leader and MP Manish Tewari said there is “over-sensitivity” about the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

“When my Chinese friend questions why they weren’t invited to the Indo-Pacific conference, I can also ask why India was not invited before the BRI [China-led Belt and Road Initiative] was rolled out,” he said as per the Daily Star.

Manish Tewari said, “I don’t think if you are going to make it an Asian century, you can live in this zero-sum game… There will be various concepts and constructs. You have to go and help each other.” “People who lead countries need to be a little more enlightened… and think how they can integrate all the different concepts in order to make life of the people in Asia better than what they are today,” he said.