Dhaka and Beijing on Sunday discussed prospects for the proposed Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor and agreed to consult the modalities of the idea with other parties, including emerging economic power India.
The home side at the meeting showed its keenness to be active part of the proposed economic corridor linking the four Eastern South Asian countries with view to expanding trade and investment and people-to-people contact apart from strengthening connectivity in the BCIM region.
The four countries will hold a joint working group meeting in Beijing by mid-December next to form a common platform to work out further strategies on the proposed plan, a senior official who attended the meeting told UNB wishing not to be named.
The Chinese delegation placed a draft of the proposed framework of the economic corridor which was earlier given to India.
“We’ve given our feedback on their proposal at the meeting outlining what we want,” the official said adding that the delegation will later meet Myanmar on the issue.
The Foreign Ministry official said they (China) will compile the outcomes of the meetings already held with India and Bangladesh and the meeting to be held with Myanmar.
“For our national interest, it’s a very important initiative because this is the only forum where we’re getting both China and India, and we’ll try our best to get benefit of this forum,” he added.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque presided over the meeting held at State Guesthouse Meghna in the city.
The Chinese delegation comprising eight officials, led by Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, Lin Dajian, and officials from the Foreign Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Communications Ministry, Shipping Ministry, Power Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and Economic Relations division (ERD) were present at the meeting. Chinese Ambassador Li Jun was also present.
“We had a very fruitful discussion. This is a very good initiative. Things are still at the initial stage. We can update the issue after Eid,” said another senior official.
Bangladesh has been giving due importance to the matter as two emerging economic powerhouses like China and India are part of it, creating a scope for Bangladesh to benefit from its location right in the middle of the region covered.
Construction of a highway from Kunming in China to Kolkata through Myanmar, northeast India and Bangladesh, is being highlighted in the forum as it may turn into a gateway for boosting trade and investment in South and Southeast Asia, officials said.
The BCIM region is one of the richest in the world in terms of natural and mineral and other resources, according to CPD.
An important resource of the region is the huge reserve of natural gas in Bangladesh and NEIs. Besides, there is a very good reserve of coal in West Bengal and Assam, it said.
Proper implementation of this sub-regional cooperation could combine the resources of the constituent members in order to gain competitive edge in attracting both domestic and foreign investments and promoting export for the mutual benefit of the members involved.