Bangladesh backs China's OBOR project saying as sovereignty can't keep us isolated
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 06-Oct-2017

New Delhi, October 6: Bangladesh today backed China's ambitious OBOR project after India got support from the US President Donald Trump over the stand on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Economic issues now dictate how much sovereignty one should exert,” Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said at the World Economic Forum in Delhi. “We cannot be isolated in the name of sovereignty. There are times when you have to put the sovereignty issue behind, in the back seat, to the economic benefits to your people.” 

Haque’s comments came in defence of Bangladesh’s decision to join the 60-nation connectivity project promoted by China, even as concerns grow over the “debt trap” that the massive infrastructure projects are leading smaller SAARC countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, and Sri Lanka into.

Meanwhile, Trump administration on Tuesday threw its weight behind India's opposition to the CPEC, saying it passes through a disputed territory and no country should put itself into a position of dictating the Belt and Road initiative.

In May this year, India had refused to attend China’s Belt and Road Forum, on grounds that it was not transparent, led to heavy indebtedness, and most importantly, over sovereignty issues as the B&RI’s flagship project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

However Bangladesh joined the initiative after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in October 2016, committing $24 billion in loans to infrastructure, railways and energy projects there.

On other hand Pakistan blamed India saying New Delhi is trying to sabotage its economic activity particularly China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by fomenting terrorism on its soil.

In April, 2015, China signed a US $ 46 billion investment deal with Pakistan. The deal covers one of the world’s largest overseas projects which will connect Kashgar’s Xinjiang in China with Balochistan’s Gwadar in Pakistan: China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project is not only about the revival of the ancient land silk route with maritime silk route which connected Indus valley civilization to the Southern Asia. Apart from 3000 Km highway and railroad that will give China direct access to Indian Ocean, which will reduce China’s 12 days time of oil and coal imports to 36 hours, the project includes US $ 33 billion investment in energy sector alone.