Bangladesh needs both the United States and China

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Bangladesh needs both the United States and China. Today, Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal attract the attention of world powers. The United States, United Kingdom, China, India and Japan have focused their attention on South Asia, Bangladesh and the “Bay of Bengal”. The United States has shifted its policy from “Asia-Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” to counter China’s “BRI”. Both sides want Bangladesh to be part of their respective blocs.

Bangladesh’s policies are not geared towards bipartisan international politics. Bangladesh was an active member of the “Non-Aligned Movement”. Bangladesh has neither the intention nor the interest to join a bloc. But Bangladesh intends to take advantage of the blocks. Bangladesh believes in peaceful coexistence in the region. He always avoids any type of clash with any actor. Despite Myanmar’s provocations during the Rohingya refugee crisis in 2017, it refrained from using any form of force. Bangladesh knows the strategy. Bangladesh achieves the balance between “BRI” and “IPS”. Whether Bangladesh is involved in the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) or the China-led Belt and Road (BRI), it must uphold peace and the rule of law in the region to derive maximum economic benefits.

Bangladesh still believes in the “relevance” of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said at the summit in Venezuela in 2016. The NAM was established in Cold War era as an association of countries that did not wish to take sides with either the United States or the Soviet Union. Basically, Bangladesh did not want to side with either the United States or the Soviet Union. Bangladesh’s participation in the 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Multilateral Forum Summit held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2019 has further strengthened the country’s position in the international arena. Bangladesh’s position on the international stage is neutral.

In this regard, Bangladesh is handling this issue tactically. He avoids his direct involvement with the blocks. Having been approached by the United States for years, Bangladesh has shown no interest in signing the ACSA (Acquisition and Cross-Serviceing Agreement) and GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement) with the United States. On the other hand, when the Chinese envoy to Bangladesh said that Bangladesh should not join the IPS last year, Bangladesh strongly protested against the Chinese envoy’s remarks that Bangladesh is capable of training its own national policy.

Bangladesh wants and believes in peaceful coexistence in the region. Whether Bangladeshis are involved in the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) or the China-led Belt and Road (BRI), they must maintain peace and the rule of law in the maritime region. to derive maximum economic benefits.

But the US can target Bangladesh because Bangladesh is an active partner in China’s BRI project. The recent sanctions against the RAB of Bangladesh are the clear example to understand it. But the United States must understand that Bangladesh is also with the United States.

The United States is the main export destination for Bangladeshi garments. Bangladesh also believes in the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy of the United States. Bangladesh needs both the United States and China for its development process. It is pertinent to mention that Bangladesh wants to be a welfare state in South Asia. Its economic success today is commendable. Thus, it needs both the US, China and the EU to keep pace with rapid economic growth. The United States should not worry about Bangladesh. Bangladesh strongly believes in friendship with all.

According to various open sources, Bangladesh is America’s main ally in South Asia. The two countries maintain in-depth cooperation in the areas of regional and global security, counter-terrorism and climate change. Bangladesh is a major participant in the Obama administration’s major international development initiatives, including food security, health and the environment. In 2012, a strategic dialogue agreement was signed between the two countries. In 2015, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernikat described the relationship as “vibrant, multifaceted and essential”. As of 2016, Bangladesh has been the largest recipient of US aid in Asia outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The relationship between the United States and Bangladesh is strengthened by the Bangladeshi American community. Fazlur Rahman Khan designed America’s tallest tower in Chicago.

According to data from the US State Department and the US Embassy in Bangladesh, the United States is Bangladesh’s largest export market. The United States is one of the main sources of foreign direct investment in Bangladesh. The biggest US investment in the country is Chevron, which produces 50% of Bangladesh’s natural gas. Bilateral trade in 2014 was US$6 billion. The main US exports to Bangladesh are agricultural products (soya, cotton, wheat, dairy products), aircraft, machinery, engines and steel products. US imports from Bangladesh include clothing, footwear and textile products; toys, games and sporting goods; shrimps and agricultural products. There are many Bangladeshi students in American universities. The United States assisted Bangladesh during cyclone relief operations in 1991 and 2007. In 2017, U.S. direct investment in Bangladesh was $460 million, an increase of 0.4% over to 2016. Exports from Bangladesh to the United States were valued at $9.4 billion between January and October. Last year. Bangladesh and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. According to media reports, the US government also donated $218 million in Covid-19 donations alongside 28 million vaccines. In addition, an American company has signed an agreement with Bangladesh to install the submarine cable costing 700 million to 1 billion dollars by 2023 which will link France via Singapore.

On the other hand, although China and Bangladesh shared a contentious relationship during the latter’s independence movement and immediately after that, the relationship has undergone considerable transformation as China is now seen by many as the Bangladesh as an “everlasting friend”. . They established diplomatic relations in 1976; it was the defensive bonds that were an important area of ​​their relationship, which led to further expansion of the bonds.

China, Asia’s largest economy, recently decided to grant duty-free access to 98% of Bangladeshi products by including 383 new products, including leather and leather goods, in the zero treatment list. .

According to media reports, over the past 46 years, relations between China and Bangladesh have developed, with mutual cooperation and friendship on both sides. On the international stage, Bangladesh has, to the best of its ability, maintained unwavering support for the “one China policy” and the peaceful rise of China.

According to data from various media, from January to July 2021, China and Bangladesh’s overall import and export volume was $13 billion, a year-on-year increase of 58.9%. China has become Bangladesh’s largest trading partner, and Bangladesh is China’s third-largest trading partner and the third-largest engineering contract market in South Asia. Although there is a trade deficit between the two trade links, China should take this into account. Bangladesh is an important participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and one of the first countries to respond to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Although bilateral trade strongly favors China, Bangladesh has huge potential in Chinese markets. show growth in 2022.

On October 14, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Bangladesh for a historic visit. During this visit, China announced huge investments in various sectors in Bangladesh. The implementation of these investment projects is in full swing. Ongoing projects include Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, Karnafuli Tunnel, Dhaka-Chittagong Highway Four Lane Upgrade, Payra Port Development, Chittagong-Cox Bazaar Railway Project , Power Grid Reinforcement Project, Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Highway, Dhaka-Sylhet Four Lane Highway, etc.

Despite various challenges, Bangladesh is going to be a South Asian economic miracle and a welfare state in South Asia. Thus, it is the moral responsibility of China and the United States to cooperate with Bangladesh. Bangladesh wants to coexist with all the players in the regions. The rise of Bangladesh in South Asia is very peaceful. He believes in perpetual peace.

The writer is a local teacher and social worker.

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