Bangladesh Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina made several milestone achievements during her visit in China. After her historic India visit, it is another major achievement which she made in making major breakthrough in bilateral relation with another giant regional and global economy.
China will allow duty free access of Bangladeshi products to its markets and increase its supports for the country’s efforts to face floods and other natural calamities caused by global warming. Bangladesh and China signed three major agreements and a MOU comprising of commitment of Commitment of Chinese Government in assisting Bangladesh in important infrastructure development projects.
The summit meeting between Bangladesh PM and Chinese PM was held at the East Hall of Great Hall on Thursday. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao gave the assurance of assistance and cooperation in all areas that PM Hasina referred to during an hour of official talks held in a cordial atmosphere. The two leaders discussed various issues of bilateral interest as well as Chinese support and cooperation for Bangladesh’s socio-economic sectors.
In the meeting, the Bangladesh Prime Minister also sought short and long term Chinese assistance, grants and approval of State-to-State loan on ODA basis for implementing seven projects in Bangladesh’s agriculture, power and infrastructure sectors.
These are grants for construction of
• Chinese Exhibition Centre with car parking facilities,
• Construction of road and rail infrastructure connecting Chittagong with Kunming through Gundum of Myanmar,
• Construction of 8th Bangladesh-China friendship bridge,
• Water Purification Project in Pagla,
• Financial and Technical support for construction of power plant in Bangladesh, strengthening organizational cooperation between China National Hybrid Rice Research Centre and Bangladesh Rice Research Institutes (BRRI) and
• Waiving Chinese loan.
The Chinese Prime Minister welcomed Sheikh Hasina to the Great Hall. He lauded her leadership, saying that democracy has been strengthened further in Bangladesh after her assuming of office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
“Stability in socio-economic sectors has been brought back after your assumption as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh,” Mr. Jiabao told Sheikh Hasina and expressed the hope that Bangladesh will achieve further progress in these vital sectors in future owing to her prudent leadership.
Referring to excellent bilateral relations existing between the two countries, the Chinese Premier said the cooperation in the country’s socio-economic sectors would be bolstered in the days to come.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recalled the visits of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to China in 1953 and 1957 and said through these visits, bilateral links between Bangladesh and China had been established.
Sheikh Hasina said China is a trusted friend of Bangladesh and her country attaches highest importance to its relationship with China in the greater interest of the two Asian nations.
Mentioning the Chinese support for Bangladesh’s development sector, Sheikh Hasina said the Chinese cooperation in the country’s infrastructure, trade and business, agriculture, energy and power have been playing an important role in the country’s socio-economic development
Bangladesh Prime Minister referred to Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, Bangabandhu International Conference Centre and other projects being implemented through Chinese support
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought Chinese support and cooperation in the follwing areas also:
• Modernizing flood forecasting and warning centre,
• River dreading projects,
• Satellite launching and seting up remote sensing satellite,
• Increasing stipend for Bangladeshi students up to 150 and
• Providing scholarship facilities to the foreign service officials.
Referring to defence cooperation, the Prime Minister requested the Chinese government to provide two frigates with three helicopters under long term loan assistance and called for extending support to her government’s endeavours in tackling the challenges of climate change.
Laying emphasis on regional cooperation, Sheikh Hasina said relations among the countries in the region, especially China, India and Mayanmar, have to be bolstered for the overall benefit in the region.
She said concerted efforts have to be taken to eliminate terrorism and militancy from the region. Describing poverty as the common enemy, she said united steps have to be taken to eradicate poverty from the Asian region.
As the Bangladesh premier sought Chinese cooperation in these sectors, Mr. Wen Jiabao assured her to provide his country’s support for these sectors for overall development of Bangladesh.
Regarding the climate change issue, the Chinese Premier appreciated the role of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her prudent leadership in those forums where she raised the vulnerability of the affected countries and sought international support to tackle the climate change challenges.
Bangladesh must consider itself lucky that it is located in close proximity to two of the major and rapidly expanding global economy. China is the largest trade partner of Bangladesh. Access of Bangladeshi trade commodities to Chinese market and direct road and rail communication with China will boost Bangladesh economy. Assistance of China in resolving various issues with Myanmar will be another milestong achievement.
We all know the so called go-east strategy of 4 party alliance government in 5 years failed to make any major headway other than antagonising other giant next door neighbour. But the successes achieved by Bangladeshi PM Shiekh Hasina during visits to India and China if followed up properly will make significant contribution to Bangladesh. We hope PM would soon visit Japan and Korea as well to seek cooperation of these two major countries of Asia as well.