China hopeful about Teesta project after national elections: envoy
China is hopeful about starting the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project after the national elections, said Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen today.
"We have already received some proposals on the Teesta river development. The cost of those projects is very high. We want to implement the projects in phases," he said during a question-answer session at a seminar.
The seminar titled "National Image of China in Bangladesh" held at Sheraton, Dhaka was organised by the Centre for Alternatives (CA) in collaboration with the Chinese embassy in Dhaka today.
In 2020, the Ministry of Water Resources sought a $983 million loan from China to implement the project which involves dredging the river for navigability, building strong embankments, townships, industries on the two sides of the river, water reservoir and irrigation.
Early March this year, the Chinese embassy sent a letter to the Economic Relations Division suggesting that the project can be implemented in phases, focusing first on solving the flood prevention and mitigation needs of the Bangladeshi side.
At the seminar, Yao Wen said the relations between China and Bangladesh will improve further after the January 7 elections.
He said China wants the people of Bangladesh to know more about Chinese role in the development of Bangladesh as well as in South Asia. Chinese investment in Bangladesh is going up and the quality projects under the Belt and Road Initiative will take the relations to higher levels.
Prof Sk Tawfique M Haque, chair at the Department of Political Science and Sociology of North South University, said the China should clarify that its way of resolving the Rohingya crisis differs from that of other Western nations.
"Secondly, China should create a counter-narrative against the debt trap narrative, as Bangladeshis are still suspicious of this narrative," he said at the event.
Prof Shahab Enam Khan of International Relations at Jahangirnagar University pointed out that 'acts of balancing' best describe relations between Bangladesh and China.
Considering the country's trade with the foreign countries and national economic priorities, he said Bangladesh must ensure a balanced relationship with China and other development partners.
Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of International Relations Department at DU and executive director of CA, former ambassador Tariq Karim, former adviser to a caretaker government Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, economists Dr Zaidi Sattar and Dr Barkat-E-Khuda also spoke.