‘China not only offering basket of money but also affordable proposals’
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said China has come forward with a "basket of money" along with "aggressive and affordable" proposals amid Bangladesh's growing infrastructure needs when assistance from many countries is "declining".
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, however, laid emphasis on making an "informed decision" and cited problems that they have seen in some countries in the region.
The foreign ministers of Bangladesh and India came up with their own views during a panel discussion titled "A Sea Change: Regional Order and Security in the Indo-Pacific" on the second day (Saturday) of the Munich Security Conference 2022.
Replying to a question, Momen said Bangladesh is doing "pretty well" in terms of economic development and since it is doing pretty well, the aspirations of common people have also gone up.
"They want more facilities and more opportunities for better life and there's a demand for more infrastructure facilities in the country. But we don't have money. Neither do we have technology," said the foreign minister.
He said they need to have further development to face this public demand while help from many countries is declining.
Dr Momen thanked Japan, saying they are one of the best friends and the country is investing in Bangladesh's infrastructure.
He also thanked India with remarks that the country has been giving line of credit to Bangladesh for various projects.
Dr Momen said the development process is going on in Bangladesh in line with people's demand for more infrastructure development.
"And there we need a completion. We need more funding from our development partners," he said, adding that unfortunately they come with a lot of strings making things very difficult.
The Foreign Minister said till today Bangladesh borrowed maximum loans from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
Responding to Dr Momen's question, his Indian counterpart Dr Jaishankar said international relations is "competitive" and every country will look for opportunities and see what it can do.
"But while doing so, it's in their own interest to be prudent and do due diligence about what they are getting into…we've seen countries, including in our region, being saddled with large debts, we've seen projects which are commercially unsustainable, airports where aircraft doesn't come, harbours where ship doesn't come. I think people should ask, what am I getting into?" -- said the Indian External Affairs Minister.
He said it is in the interest of the country concerned and also in the interest of the international community because unsustainable projects do not end there. "There are real concerns over there."
"I think it's very important that all of us make an informed decision but of course a very competitive decision," said Dr Jaishankar.
The 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) is scheduled to end today.