Special Talk on OBOR in South Asia and Future of Cooperation with Bangladesh

Special Talk on OBOR in South Asia and Future of Cooperation with Bangladesh

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The East Asia Study Center organized a Special Talk titled, “OBOR in South Asia and Future of Cooperation with Bangladesh” at the Center for Genocide Studies of University of Dhaka from 3:00 to 4:30 pm on 10 May 2017. Mr. Dai Lei, Program Director of Hainan Institute for World Watch of Economic and Non-traditional Security from Hainan Province, was the key speaker. Dr. Delwar Hossain, founding director of the East Asia Study Center and Professor of Department of International Relations of University of Dhaka, presided the session, and Professor Dr. Amena Mohsin from the same department was the designated discussant of the Talk. Faculty members from International Relations departments, researchers from the Center for Genocide Studies, representatives from Bangladesh China Chamber of Commerce & Industry and students from different departments of Social Science Faculty attended the Talk.

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In the introductory discussion Dr. Hossain welcomed the audience for their presence to this Special Talk. He mentioned, Bangladesh participated the first ever OBOR Summit in China and the Chinese President XI Jinping’s visited in Bangladesh in 2016 are significant events for both countries and for OBOR Initiative. The two corridors, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, are for the South Asia region in OBOR that would play very dynamic role in regional economic integration, though India has different position on this policy.

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In the leading presentation Mr. Lei said, huge changes are taking place around the world but world economy is recovering slowly, on the other hand global development is divided, as a result the international trade and investment are undergoing through vital challenges. So to addressing this issues, China felt the urge of cooperation in the field of connectivity to boost the world economy. Subsequently, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan in September 2013 where he raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt regarded as One Belt and his visit in Indonesia on October 2013, he raised the initiative of 21st-Century Maritime Silk Route known as One road. Connectivity is the main motive within OBOR Initiative. The objectives of the Initiative are promoting free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources, deep integration of markets, encouraging 65 countries along OBOR to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out more regional cooperation of higher standards. The OBOR Initiative promotes practical cooperation in all fields, and works to build a community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness. On land, OBOR Initiative takes advantage of international transport routes where railway is one of the main pillars regarding connectivity, relying on relatives cities, setting up economic or industrial parks and at sea, OBOR focuses on jointly building smooth, secure and efficient transport routes connecting major sea ports.

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Referring to the South Asia context, Mr. Lei mentioned that The CPEC, running from South-Western China to Pakistan, and the BCIM Economic Corridor which is the only multinational cooperation mechanism in Bay of Bengal, running from Southern China to India, are officially classified as closely related to the Belt and Road Initiative. Here in South Asia, dealing with Indian security concern in the Seven Sister states is still the most dominant factor in regional integration. However, situation is not ready for solving the disputed boundary line. Though high level officials are meeting in terms of regional and global summit like BRICS and SCO. Besides, both Chinese and Indians are ignoring the disputed issues, both sides are keen for more communication on trust and regional governance as high level officials are meeting on economic, boundary, defense and strategic dialogue at regular intervals.

In the ground of future cooperation with Bangladesh Mr. Lei commended the nature of people as honest, brave and industrious. He also focused on Bangladesh’s advantages which are glorious history, important geopolitical location, large potential industrialization capability, sustainable development plan, stable governance and excellent international reputation. He also mentioned the opportunities for Bangladesh for future cooperation are FDI in power plants, transport, education and health sector, upgradation of manufacture industries, investment in infrastructural development. He also expected Bangladesh has the potential to be the next Malaysia in future.

After the key note speech, Mr. Lei was asked several questions by the audience. In response to those question he said, china does not want to ask too much to Myanmar regarding Rohingya crisis. In answering the question asked by Dr. Tanzimuddin Khan, Mr. Lei mentioned by stable governance he meant good governance which is not related to any specific government or any political party.

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At the end, Professor Dr. Amena Mohsin said the connectivity is the main focus of the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiatives. China is very close to Pakistan, this relationship can foster removing the tensions between India and Pakistan if China comes forward to resolve this and thus China can change India’s view regarding OBOR Initiative. She delivered vote of thanks to everyone for their spontaneous participation to the Special Talk.