|Published : 15 Oct 2016, 22:37:50|
On Dhaka-Beijing strategic partnership
The visit of President Xi Jinping of China to Bangladesh has been an epochal one. It has opened a new vista for further strengthening and deepening of bilateral relations between Dhaka and Beijing. The official talks between the two sides - led by President Xi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - on last Friday decided to elevate China-Bangladesh relationship from a 'Closer Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation' to a 'Strategic Partnership of Cooperation'. This is the most important outcome of the visit by the Chinese head of state to Dhaka. This partnership is purported to working together 'towards socio-economic advancement' of the peoples of the two countries.
As the world's second largest economy, China has now emerged as a mighty global economic power. As such, the strategic partnership with China offers Bangladesh, now a low middle-income country, a unique opportunity to count on Beijing's support, cooperation and collaboration in key areas. This may go a long way towards attaining Bangladesh's goal of becoming a knowledge-based middle-income country by 2021 and eventually a developed country by 2041.
The visit of President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh has given a new impetus to institutionalising bilateral cooperation. The signing of 27 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) of cooperation bears this out. The areas of cooperation will cover, among others, trade and investment, blue economy, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar-Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC), roads and bridges, railways, power, maritime, affairs, ICT, industrial production capacity building and skill development.
The volume of investment that will be involved in execution of all such programmes is huge. Now that the framework for all-round cooperation has been delineated and agreed upon, all concerned will expect that effective follow-up actions will be taken in right earnest to move forward the process as expeditiously as possible. Both Beijing and Dhaka have demonstrated their clear and strong will to work together as partners 'with trust and support to each other'. Translating the will and commitment of two countries into actions will now be the most challenging task. This can certainly be accomplished through unrelenting efforts by both sides. The fact that the two sides have now agreed to designate the year 2017 as the year of 'exchange and friendship' between Bangladesh and China, lends a strong urgency to do all the needful pro-actively.
Strong bilateral relationship between China and Bangladesh can be a game changer in South Asia and South-East Asia. This can be a positive factor for promoting peace, stability and development for the well-being of the peoples in the region at large. Bangladesh has ardently been pursuing the policy of 'friendship to all and malice to none'. China is equally strongly committed to peace, security, stability and development in the region, nay the world at large, largely reflecting its new responsibilities as an emerging global power. Thus there is no scope for any misgivings about their 'strategic partnership'. Rather, it should encourage concerted actions by all the countries in the wider region in this part of the world to make coordinated efforts for forging connectivity in a win-win situation for all.