Bangladesh says it has learnt from Sri Lanka’s mistakes when dealing with China.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Foreign Affairs Advisor, Gowher Rizvi, has said that Dhaka would take a very balanced, calibrated investment policy when dealing with China.
The statement has come at a time when China is luring the developing and underdeveloped countries with its ‘debt trap’ strategy, IB Times reported.
Rizvi said that the country has taken lessons from Sri Lanka and Djibouti which were forced to give control of their assets after they were unable to pay Chinese debt.
Djibouti’s debt to China is said to have risen to more than 70% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
As per the China Global Investment Tracker, Chinese investments and contracts in Djibouti totalled $1.02 billion from 2013 to 2020, with the majority of them in the transportation sector.
Furthermore, in 2004, DP World, a logistics corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, signed a 25-year contract to run the Doraleh Container Terminal. But Djibouti unexpectedly terminated the arrangement in January 2018, nationalized the terminal, and transferred a stake of over 20% to China Merchant Holdings.
Similarly, citing difficulty to pay loans taken to build the project at the southern port of Hambantota, the Srilankan government agreed to lease the port for 99 years to a venture led by China Merchants Port Holdings Co. in return for $1.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Rizvi dismissed any fears of China building Bangladesh’s deep seaport and added, “There was a huge concern that China will build Bangladesh’s deep seaport Are you hearing anything of that sort?” He also said, “We know how to guard our sovereignty. We became an Independent State through a war of liberation. We very carefully monitor our borrowings. We are in a very healthy position insofar as our foreign repayment debt repayment is concerned.”
Calling New Delhi an important ally of Dhaka, Rizvi said that Bangladesh has given importance to its relationship with India. (Colombo Gazette)