Smriti Sen Gupta
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit China in July, when the two friendly nations are expected to sign several agreements, which would include Chinese participation in a number of infrastructural development projects in Bangladesh. Ever since Bangladesh joined President Xi Jinping’s signature project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India has been consistently suggesting Bangladesh for walking out of it. But, considering national interest, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not listen to such uncalled for interventions. Instead, she has wholeheartedly moved forward in implementing the BRI as one of its most valuable members.
Chinese policymakers already are seeing their best ally in Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina due to her charismatic leadership qualities as well as firm determination in making Bangladesh one of the finest examples of development and prosperity. It may be mentioned here that Bangladesh already has attained the status of being one of the fastest growing economies in the world. On the other hand, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emerged as one of the most influential leaders in Asia.
Due to Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic policies, pace of economic progress of Bangladesh is comparatively much faster than India and by the year 2020, Bangladesh’s GDP growth will cross that of India.
Dhaka’s growing relations with Beijing is not liked by Delhi as India does not want China’s influence in South Asia. For this reason, India has been extending all out assistance and funding to anti-Beijing Tibetan separatist groups for decades.
It is well perceived, as far as South Asia and South-east Asia in particular are concerned, India and China is actually at a cold-war mood as both are competing in establishing supremacy. But the battle of supremacy got sufficiently odd for India because of China’s massive economic capacities.
Key policymakers in New Delhi are unwilling seeing Bangladesh having much deeper relations with China than India. But they also know, such growing relations cannot be stopped mainly because China has been readily placing billions of dollars towards Bangladesh’s infrastructural development. There also is possibility of Dhaka-Beijing’s extended cooperation in defense, in particular, which has become a great headache for India.
According to a foreign intelligence source, India may begin pushing over four million Bangla-speaking Muslims into Bangladesh by branding them as “illegal immigrants from Bangladesh” from September this year, if Dhaka’s relations grows further with Beijing.
It may be mentioned here that since 2017, Bangladesh already is bearing the tremendous burden of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, while now there are indications from Myanmar of not letting these refugees return to Myanmar. With this ulterior goal, Myanmar is continuing various forms of activities including diplomatic persuasion and media propaganda.
Now, if India too starts pushing over four million Bangla-speaking Muslims into Bangladesh, this will emerge as an unbearable burden for this densely-populated country while the anti-India sentiment will rise to an alarming level thus posing tremendous threats to law and order situation.