Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi on Saturday said Bangladesh lies at the heart of BCIM Economic Corridor and stressed the need for equal efforts from its partners to implement it smoothly to have multifaceted benefits.
“So every respect, Bangladesh lies at the heart of BCIM…We remain enthusiastic, we remain committed (towards BCIM-EC implementation) but obviously we understand this will be possible only when Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar -- all of us -- can come together,” he said.
The Adviser also said unless the work starts from two ends -- India and China -- Bangladesh and Myanmar will not be able to get connected, and without Myanmar and Bangladesh, the corridor will not be joined but without China and India it will have nowhere to go.
He said the connectivity is a ‘route to prosperity’ for Bangladesh and the rest of the region and laid emphasis on more research, public debate and discussion apart from creating new ideas to successfully develop and implement the BCIM-EC initiative.
Dr Rizvi was addressing a seminar titled ‘BCIM-EC and Maritime Silk Route Across the Bay’ at Lakeshore Hotel in the city arranged by the Centre for east Asia (Foundation) with Prof Dr Sukamal Barua in the chair.
Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka U Myo Myint Than, Charge d’ Affaires, Chinese Embassy, QU Guangzhou and Executive Director of the Centre for East Asia Nasim Mahmmud also spoke on the occasion.
Dhaka University Development Studies Prof Dr Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir and Senior Research Fellow of Bnagladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Dr M Jashim Uddin presented two papers at the seminar.
Speaking as the chief guest, Dr Rizvi said Bangladesh’s ambitions are high and the efforts in the last five years suggest that these ambitions anchored in the reality.
“Our ambitions are easily attainable provided we can achieve domestic stability, political stability and work single-mindedly and purposefully towards that goal,” he said adding that BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) is obviously a very important part of that goals.
He said Bangladesh is truly a very fortunate state today because of its geographical location and mentioned that trade and economic relations are determined by proximity and access to markets.
Dr Rizvi said the present government wants to make Bangladesh a hub of connectivity linking South Asia and Southeast Asia and BCIM-EC is a very important part to become a hub of connectivity.
The Adviser said the recent visit of Chinese President to India was a very significant step forward that two countries declared, despite some border issues between the two countries that they are going to push forward with the BCIM-EC. “This is welcome news.”
In the months to come, he hoped, Bangladesh will step forward and shared culture among Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Chain will be brought back to life collaborating in every possible ways.
Taking advantage of proximity with Myanmar, China and India; Bangladesh wants to maximize the resources that nature has given, he added.
Making his observation on Bangladesh-Myanmar relations, Dr Rizvi said it is extremely a serious grievous mistake to discuss Bangladesh’s relations with Myanmar only in terms of Rohingya issue.
“That is one issue…we’ve a much deeper relationship with huge potentials. We’re looking to cooperate in the field of energy. Today, we’re truly in a very happy position,” he added.
The Foreign Affairs Adviser said Bangladesh now has outstanding relations with the West with a very deep broad-based engagement in whole range of issues. “We’ve begun to look nearer and to look at the East. And that has opened up opportunities of an unprecedented scale which could have been difficult to imagine few years ago.”
On Dhaka’s relations with China and India, he said both China and India encourage Bangladesh to maintain good relations with each of the two countries.
He also included Japan in Bangladesh’s good book saying Bangladesh also has outstanding ties with Japan.
“Our vision is very clear…We’re a peaceful country. We don’t want to be embroiled in global conflicts and don’t wish to be embroiled in power politics. Our people need a secure and prosperous future. Our neighbors understand our stance,” he added.
Guangzhou in his speech said BCIM countries should strengthen collaboration on their strategies, policies, plans and measures for cooperation and the BCIM-EC building.
“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,” he said adding that strong support from Bangladeshi government is essential for the success of BCIM-EC.
The Chinese diplomat said Bangladesh was one of destinations of the Southern Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. “Let’s 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 hoped that with strong support from Bangladesh, the establishment of BCIM-EC will be materialized in foreseeable future.
Guangzhou said all projects of BCIM-EC are designed to convert advantage of political relations, geographical proximity and economic complementary into dividend of practical cooperation and sustainable growth, aiming to smoothen goods flow and ensure sound governance, social harmony, mutual benefit and common development.
Myanmar Ambassador Myint Than said his country already has a number of sea ports along the Bay of Bengal in operation. “Hence, we can say that Myanmar is in a good position to take advantage of both BCIM-EC and the new proposed maritime Silk Route across the Bay.”
The diplomat said Myanmar is cooperating with other BCIM members to work on the concept of BCIM-EC. “At the same time, we’re also taking an interest in ongoing efforts to revive a new Maritime Silk Route across the Bay.”
Diplomats, academics, former and serving bureaucrats, businesspeople and defence personnel took part in the seminar.
BD lies at heart of BCIM-EC