The belt and road initiative (BRI), initiated by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, is expected to increase global connectivity through land and sea routes and facilitate trade among the BRI signatory countries.
BRI has been widely accepted by many countries. The initiative to enhance connectivity has been extended from Asia to Europe, Africa and Latin America. So far, more than 120 countries have already joined the BRI and Bangladesh is one of them. During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in 2016, he pledged USD 40 billion for building up infrastructure under the BRI and signed an MOU in this regard. Many big projects are being built in Bangladesh under this initiative.
China has vast resources which remain untapped. The country now needs to boost trade with regional and global powers to emerge as an economic super power. Moreover, this initiative enhances China’s influence as a soft power international diplomacy.
The proponents of the BRI in Bangladesh are seeing this initiative as a window of opportunities for Bangladesh. Other groups are apprehensive of the potential debt trap that it might put Bangladesh in. Bangladesh should not get swayed away by the possibilities that BRI opens up for the country; rather it should carefully weight its options and make wise and informed decision for the greater interest of the country.