With an eye firmly focussed on the ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy, Beijing will be offering a staggering $24 billion in loan to Bangladesh. The investment will be Bangladesh’s biggest such credit in its history. The loan arrives with President Xi Jinping’s visit to Dhaka today – the first by a Chinese President in 30 years. The huge amount will help Bangladesh build power plants, a seaport and railways.
And this is what China will do in Bangladesh:
- Finance a 1320 megawatt (MW) power plant and 24 more projects.
- Strengthen Bangladesh’s power grid network. (China’s Jiangsu Etern Co Ltd signed a deal worth $1.1 billion for the same.)
- Develop a deep sea port in Sonadia, Chittagong. This port will be very close to Myanmar.
Bangladesh’s junior finance minister MA Mannan said: “Xi’s visit will set a new milestone. (A) record amount of loan agreements will be signed during the visit, roughly $24 billion.”
That China has now placed a precise focus on Bangladesh sends clear signals of Beijing’s intentions to India.
In fact, New Delhi has been trying to strengthen its relationship with its eastern and southern neighbours – Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – in the light of Beijing’s immensely robust ties with Islamabad. For this reason, India has been investing in its traditional allies. Last year, the Narendra Modi government extended a $2 billion credit line to Bangladesh. India also got Japan to help finance Bangladesh’s power infrastructure and port at very low interest rates.
On the map is Sonadia, the location for the deep sea port Bangladesh aims to build with China’s loan. GoogleMaps
Chinese experts state that the investment race in India’s neighbourhood should not worry New Delhi, but Beijing’s massive investment is set to impact New Delhi’s influence in the region. After his Dhaka trip, Xi Jinping will fly into India for the BRICS summit in Goa.