Sri Lanka can win by following the model of eternal China-Bangladesh ties – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Sri Lanka can benefit from the following model of the eternal links between China and Bangladesh. This link shows how a country can get the most benefit from bonding with its friend.
According to media reports, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the two South Asian countries comes on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Sino-Maldive diplomatic relations, the 65th anniversary of Sino-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of rubber-rice pact, “said the spokesperson at his press conference. regular briefing, APP reported.
China and Sri Lanka are traditional neighbors and essential partners with close high-level commitments, deep practical cooperation, broad common interests, and similar positions on many regional and international issues and challenges.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh-China alliance or the country’s relations with China are not new. The path that connected Bangladesh to China is called the Silk Road, which is known in history as the Silk Road. China and Bangladesh being both coastal countries, trade between them by sea has been excellent since ancient times.
Although China has been a powerful naval and land power since ancient times, China has not colonized or occupied any other country. On the contrary, he showed deep respect for the independence and sovereignty of all countries. This is why China’s relations with Bangladesh have deepened.
Diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and China began in 1975. Since the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries, they have become more and more intense and this relationship has stood the test of time. The excellent diplomatic relations between the two countries are recognized as models, despite the differences in political ideologies and social and cultural systems.
On the other hand, Lanka was a popular stopover for merchants on their journeys between East and West. From the first centuries AD, the island established constant and peaceful cultural, religious, and economic relations with the Chinese Empire, and it has been described in various accounts by Chinese travelers.
China has cooperated in building economic infrastructure for our economic development, as well as in trade, agriculture, industry and defense. In the case of Sri Lanka, we also see the imprint of Bangladesh. Thus, Sri Lanka can benefit from the following Bangladesh model.
Bangladesh’s geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomic position has become an important country in the regional strategic field. Bangladesh’s position is very important even in the global strategic field. Bangladesh is considered to be the bridge connecting South Asia to South East Asia. Bangladesh is located in the middle of two large Asian countries, including emerging India. The other is China, which is already the world’s second largest economy.
India is a strong partner in the Bay of Bengal; The country regards the Bay of Bengal as its own lake and a maritime border for its political and diplomatic initiatives towards ASEAN. The United States has also become a major partner; The pillar of its geopolitical strategy in the Pacific. The United States has decided to deploy 60% of its naval power in the Pacific Ocean.
Bangladesh believes China to be a humble power; The country believes in peaceful coexistence and follows the path of peace. However, China is very aware of its maritime security and has built its naval power accordingly as a priority.
Defense has always been an important issue in China-Bangladesh relations. In 2002, the two countries signed a defense cooperation agreement. It is a comprehensive general agreement which covers the supply of military equipment, the transfer of technology, joint venture defense projects, military training, joint operations, development of logistics lines, the fight against terrorism. , disaster management and other potential areas. We must modernize and strengthen our armed forces; It should be updated in a timely manner. Bangladesh requests the full support and cooperation of China under the aforementioned Defense Agreement to ensure the security of Bangladesh’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Extended Continental Shelf and the protection of our marine resources, including including precious hydrocarbons at sea. With this goal in mind, Bangladesh sought cooperation from China to equip the navy with naval fleets, submarine submarines and its own fighter jets in the air. .
China has been a continuous source of military equipment for Sri Lanka and helps modernize and expand Sri Lanka’s armed forces. China exports military equipment to the Sri Lankan army, including: munitions, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, bombs and deep-penetrating rockets, mortar ammunition, night vision devices, artillery, armor, mortars, security equipment, tanks, jets, warships, radar and communications equipment.
China is also helping to train Sri Lankan military personnel.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited China in 2013 and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited Bangladesh the same year. At that time, the Chinese government expressed its full assurance to cooperate with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh wants to establish a comprehensive relationship with China. Maritime relations between the two countries must be improved and strengthened; For that, it is necessary to build a deep water port towards Chittagong with the cooperation of China. Bangladesh also wants to establish road and rail links between Chittagong and Kunming via Myanmar. This will lead to the reopening of the old Southern Silk Road; The door to greater cooperation in commerce, commerce, industry, economy and national security will be opened.
During the Corona Period, China has shown that “the friend of danger is the true friend”.
During the Corona period, China showed that “the friend of danger is the true friend”, at that time China bound Bangladesh with the belief that “the boat of love sails on the mountain”. The country reached out to Bangladesh again when vaccination diplomacy was in dire straits to get the corona vaccine. China gifted 12 lakh of vaccine to Bangladesh in two phases and assured that the country would gradually supply millions of vaccines to Bangladesh commercially. China is expected to begin production of vaccines soon in a joint venture with Bangladesh in addition to supplying vaccines. The two countries are also discussing it. Lee Jimming, the country’s ambassador to Dhaka, said the friend of danger is the true friend. Bangladesh will remember this friendship with China.
In other areas, the pace of cooperation between the two countries has accelerated with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in 2016 and the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China in 2019. During the two visits, various agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed. between the two countries in various fields, including energy, technology and infrastructure development. The country will invest around 25 billion in various sectors, including the development of economic infrastructure in Bangladesh in the light of the One Way One Region program. China has assisted Bangladesh in various development activities, including the construction of the country’s first tunnel over the Padma Bridge and Karnafuli River, the construction of thermal power plants in Chittagong and Khulna.
Last year, China offered duty-free access to 5,161 products in Bangladesh to reduce the trade deficit between the two countries. As a result, Bangladesh obtained duty free on a total of 8,256 products. As a result, the trade deficit between the two countries is expected to be reduced.
Last year, Bangladesh and China exchanged greetings on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. There, President Abdul Hamid said Bangladesh attaches great importance to relations with China. He hopes this relationship will be even stronger in the days to come.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the friendly relations between Bangladesh and China are based on respect, equality, strong political trust and mutually beneficial cooperation. He said the two countries wrote a new chapter of friendship during the Kovid-19 outbreak. The Belt and Road Initiative will strive to take the strategic relationship between the two countries to new heights.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the Chinese people’s relationship with Bangladesh dates back thousands of years and since then there has been an exchange of knowledge, culture and commerce between these two ancient civilizations. Recalling Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visits to China in 1952 and 1957, the Prime Minister said that Bangabandhu praised the Chinese people in his book “Unfinished Autobiography” and “The Way I Saw New China” . In addition to the economic and trade aspects of the bilateral relationship, China has provided assistance during the Covid-19 epidemic, and this relationship will be further strengthened in the days to come. He thanked China for its continued support for Bangladesh’s socio-economic development and infrastructure investment and for its collaboration with Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya issue.
Bangladesh, which faces diplomatic challenges and challenges with the Rohingya, is also hoping for China’s cooperation in their repatriation. Bangladesh hopes that this China-mediated Bangladesh-China-Myanmar trilateral initiative will bring success to the repatriation of the Rohingya. Putting the friend in danger, China will surely extend this hand of cooperation here too. For this reason, it now creates a security threat in the region.
However, the people of this country hope that the strategic relationship between Bangladesh and China will progress keeping in mind the words of China, “the boat of love sails on the mountain” and the friend of danger is. the true friend.
China has changed a lot. This China of the 70s and 80s is gone. China today is modern China, developed China, and here is a new generation, a new leadership. But despite all the changes in China, relations between the two countries have not changed. The people of both countries hope that will not happen. “The relationship between China and Bangladesh is one of friendship, not just friendship. With these words, Bangladesh-China hopes that the common beliefs and values of the two nations and the spirit of true friendship will be manifested. Sri Lanka could benefit from following this kind of model of friendship.
*Jubeda Chowdhury is a freelance writer with an MA in International Relations from Dhaka University.