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Proposed BCIM economic corridor

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China, India on 'same page' on Bangladesh! -
bdnews24.com


China, India on 'same page' on Bangladesh!
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com

Published: 2014-09-20 17:34:54.0 BdST Updated: 2014-09-20 17:50:58.0 BdST


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    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s international affairs adviser says Bangladesh maintains “outstanding” relations with India and China contrary to the belief that one must be at the cost of the other.

“….both China and India encourage us, help us to maintain good relations with each other,” Gowher Rizvi said on Saturday while speaking on the proposed BCIM economic corridor.

Centre for East Asia Foundation organised the seminar bringing together representatives of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) together.

Rizvi said setting up the BCIM economic corridor (EC) was a “high priority” for Dhaka as “we wish to be a hub of connectivity of the region”.

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“….for us the route to our economic prosperity depends on making Bangladesh the hub and centre of connectivity,” he said.

By saying connectivity, he meant connectivity of all forms including shipping “taking advantage of Bangladesh’s proximity to Myanmar, India, China, Nepal and Bhutan”.

“We remained enthusiastic, we remained committed (to BCIM),” he said, urging all four nations to work together to make the economic corridor happen.

“We want to maximise the enormous resources that nature has endowed us. This is only possible when we co-operate,” he said.

Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Qu Guangzhou, and Myanmar ambassador Myo Myint Than spoke the seminar chaired by Prof Sukomal Barua of Dhaka University.

Japanese ambassador in Dhaka and Defense Attaché of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka were also present.

The concept of BCIM was floated by think-tanks from four countries in 1999.

After nearly 15 years of Track II level discussion, China and India ultimately agreed to build the economic corridor during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in May last year. Bangladesh immediately announced its support.

Bangladesh will host the second joint working group meeting in the next month in Cox’s Bazar.

Adviser Rizvi said in the case of Bangladesh “we have managed to develop extremely cordial relations and preserve it (with India and China) because our vision is very clear”.

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“We are peaceful country. We do not want to be embroiled in global conflicts. We do not wish to be embroiled in power politics,” he said, adding that Bangladesh’s foreign policy was based on 'friendship to all, malice to none'.

"That is a reality".

“Our people need a secure and a prosperous future and our foreign policy is for achieving that goal. Our neighbours understand both our strengths and our vulnerabilities,” he said.

“We are exceptionally positioned.”

He said Sheikh Hasina's government is to make Bangladesh “a centre a hub of connectivity between South Asia and South East Asia”.

Rizvi said Bangladesh has “outstanding relations” with the West.

“With US, Bangladesh has very deep, broad-based engagement in a whole range of military, economic, political, environment, security, and intelligence sharing relations.

“We are privileged to have good relation with the EU.

“Our largest expatriate population are working in West Asia and they all are contributing to the welfare and prosperity of Bangladesh,” he said.

He also mentioned relations with Japan that reached a new level after the visits of the two Prime Ministers.

“Belatedly we have begun to look nearer home and have begun to look east,” he said, adding that that has opened up “unprecedented opportunities” which have been difficult to imagine few years ago.

He said BCIM was “a very important part” of Bangladesh’s effort to be a hub of the connectivity.

Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Guangzhou said BCIM deserves “all-out efforts” of all four nations to make it happen, given the significance of the economic corridor.

“The BCIM-EC is a long-term systematic project that cannot be completed overnight. It could only be done in a step-by-step manner,” he said while sharing China’s thoughts to make it happen.

Myanmar ambassador Than identified some priority areas of BCIM that he said needed to be focused.

Those are: connectivity, energy, investment and finance, trade in goods, services and trade facilitation, social and human capacity development, poverty alleviation, sustainable development and people to people contact.
 

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China eyes BCIM framework agreement shortly -
bdnews24.com


China eyes BCIM framework agreement shortly
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com

Published: 2014-09-20 17:32:57.0 BdST Updated: 2014-09-20 17:43:38.0 BdST


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    China looks forward to sign a BCIM framework agreement latest by early next year to give “formal institutional shape” to its dream economic corridor.
Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka Qu Guangzhou on Saturday sought “all-out efforts” of the four countries to make it happen, given the significance of the corridor.

He said the forthcoming second joint working group meeting in Cox’s Bazar would work for a consensus on signing the agreement.

Guangzhou was sharing his government’s thoughts at a seminar on “BCIM-EC and Maritime Silk Route across the Bay” in Dhaka.

Centre for East Asia Foundation organised the seminar bringing representatives of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar that comprise the BCIM together.

Ambassador of Japan, which has recently launched another Bay initiative BIG-B, was also present in the audience.

The concept of BCIM -- Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar -- was raised by think-tanks from four countries in 1999.

After nearly 15 years of Track II level discussion, China and India ultimately agreed to explore the possibility of an economic corridor during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in May last year.

Bangladesh immediately announced its support and it will host the next joint working group meeting expected to be held in October.

Charge d’ Affaires Guangzhou said with strong Bangladesh’s support, “the establishment of BCIM-EC will materialize in foreseeable future”.

“Let us pool our wisdom and resources, work together to write a new chapter in Asian regional cooperation and build a happy life for all of us,” he said.

“If we take a look at the world, we may find that the integration of Europe Union could be a mirror of future of BCIM-EC.”

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Guangzhou hoped that the Cox’s Bazaar meeting would “work on consensus of signing a BCIM Framework Agreement by the end of 2014 or early 2015, which will give formal institutional shape to BCIM Economic Corridor”.

He shared some ideas on how to promote the BCIM EC, which he said was of the “utmost importance”.

In a short-term, the priority should be focused on mechanism building that he expects the Bangladesh meeting will serve.

“Great results would be achieved in the shape of visible benefits for all four countries as soon as possible,” he said, adding that BCIM-EC could only be done in “a step-by-step manner”.

“The BCIM-EC is a long-term systematic project that cannot be completed overnight,” he said.

“Priority areas and early-harvest projects may include infrastructural connectivity, trade and investment facilitation, industrial cooperation and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

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“As transport and energy are posing considerable obstacles to closer regional cooperation, some mega projects on connectivity and power should be put on fast-track,” he said.

“In this regard, China stands ready to help.”

He said China has already invited Asian countries to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and most of them have indicated their readiness to join.

Bangladesh has also decided to join the bank known as China’s own version of the World Bank.

The envoy said Chinese President Xi Jinping announced, during his just-concluded visit to India, that China will provide $30 billion investment and $20 billion concessional loans to the South Asia countries in the next five years.

He said that would bring “new vigour and vitality into the development of BCIM-EC”.

He said during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to China, Beijing and Dhaka signed a MoU on Establishment of the Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone in Bangladesh.

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“I hope that the Zone will take shape as soon as possible and attract huge Chinese investment, which will usher in a new era for bilateral cooperation and regional collaboration as well.

“In long term, comprehensive and sustainable development should be the ultimate goal,” he said.

All projects of BCIM-EC are designed “to convert advantage of political relations, geographical proximity and economic complementarity into dividend of practical cooperation and sustainable growth”.

And those are aiming at “smooth flow of goods, sound governance, social harmony, mutual benefit and common development”.

In this context, he said BCIM countries should strengthen collaboration on their “strategies, policies, plans and measures for cooperation and the BCIM-EC building”.

The envoy said Bangladesh was also one of destinations of Chinese dream Southern Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road initiatives.
 

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eastwatch

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In my humble opinion, the fate of building a deep seaport near Cox's Bazaar all depends on the BCIM-Economc Corridor. This EC will allow the port construction to be economically feasible because it will enlarge the market the port will serve.

I believe, if this EC is established it will open ways for China to invest in the construction of port. The port is supposed to serve BD, Indian NE, Kolkatta, Indian eastern shallow ports, Nepal, Bhutan and Kunming area of China.
 

extra terrestrial

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In my humble opinion, the fate of building a deep seaport near Cox's Bazaar all depends on the BCIM-Economc Corridor. This EC will allow the port construction to be economically feasible because it will enlarge the market the port will serve.

I believe, if this EC is established it will open ways for China to invest in the construction of port. The port is supposed to serve BD, Indian NE, Kolkatta, Indian eastern shallow ports, Nepal, Bhutan and Kunming area of China.
I'm a bit concerned about the possible route, somewhere I saw the route is designed to go bypassing Chittagong. If that's the case, it won't serve our vision of being "the hub and centre of connectivity"!

Besides, considering the seaports in this region, Chittagong is by far the busiest one.
 

scholseys

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How are you going to build this route if the Ronhingya issue is not settled? it has been a pipe dream for the last fifteen years, and will continue to hang in balance until the Rohingya issue is not settled.
 

mb444

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BD needs to maintain its relationship with China, India and Burma in all sphere. As burma is opening up there is hope they will throw off the shakles of primitive racial chauvinism they are currently toying with.

I do not have any particular expectation with regards to this proposal...... it seems like fairly wishful thinking for the foreseeable future.
 

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