Bangladesh’s friendship with India, China is a win-win deal: Gowher Rizvi, bdnews24.com, 8 May 2017
Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi has said Bangladesh’s friendship with India and China is not a “zero-sum” game, just the “opposite”.
“It’s the relationship in which both of us gain,” he said, rejecting a media analysis that Bangladesh’s relations with China can be at the cost of India as “absolutely false”.
Both countries are “absolutely centrally vital for us” and that the government would “continue to preserve the extraordinary relations”, Rizvi said.
Both India and China support and value a stable and prosperous Bangladesh, he said. “It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”
The adviser spoke at a seminar on China’s ‘one-belt, one-road’ initiative organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute on Monday.
Bangladesh joined the Chinese initiative last year when President Xi Jinping visited Dhaka, elevating the relations to the strategic level.
Speaking at the seminar, Chinese Ambassador Ma Mingqiang said friendship with Bangladesh is now “at its best”.
Rizvi said Bangladesh is “extremely fortunate” to have both of them as neighbours. “It is our great advantage to have extraordinary relations.”
He said Bangladesh’s relations with China are “extremely important” for rapid economic growth and infrastructure development. The friendship is “well-tested”.
Mingqiang said the belt and road initiative is an answer to the current global crisis ranging from infrastructure bottleneck to lack of fund and protectionism and unilateralism.
“How to address those issues and ensure peace and sustainable development, belt and road initiative in my eye is one of the solutions proposed by China.”
It has five components: policy coordination, investment and trade facilitation, financial integrity, infrastructure connectivity and people to people contact.
“It is inclusive rather than exclusive. It’s based on equality, and mutual respect, rather than discriminatory. It is a win-win situation.”
However, India has reservations on China’s “one-belt, one-road initiative” which is also known as OBOR.
Ahead of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) conference in Beijing beginning next week, finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday in Japan at the Asian Development Bank’s meeting said India supports the idea of regional connectivity.
“But I have no hesitation in saying we have some serious reservations about it (OBOR), because of sovereignty issues.”
India had earlier opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of the OBOR, as it is proposed to pass through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region that India claims its own.
India is likely to send a low-ranked official to next week’s OBOR conference in China while Chinese ambassador in Dhaka at the Monday’s event said a big Bangladesh delegation would join the conference.