China looks set to raise the bar for its ties with Bangladesh by announcing deals and loans worth billions of dollars during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official visit to Dhaka on October 14. Bangladeshi officials are expecting at least &20 billion package of investment and aid during President Xi’s visit.
The two countries are also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on strengthening investment and production capacity. In an issue of concern to India, Mr Xi is also set to launch a charm offensive to win Dhaka’s support for his per project of trans-regional connectivity, ‘One Belt One Road’(OBOR).
With the US’ influence diminishing in the South Asian region, China is leaving no stones unturned to emerge as one of the strongest contenders to replace the US. China’s OBOR initiative is one of its most ambitious connectivity initiatives which aims to revive the traditional silk route by taking the South Asian countries on board.
China’s intensified foray into Bangladesh is set to spark concerns in India, the largest development partner of Dhaka. This is set to accentuate geopolitical rivalry between India and China to gain influence in the South Asian region.
Xi’s visit to Dhaka comes just days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Goa. India provided $2 billion in Lines of Credit for a host of infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.
China is trying to woo the South Asian countries by its huge investments to counter India’s growing influence. It has sided with India’s biggest rival, Pakistan for the ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in a bid to undermine India’s influence in South Asia.
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