Bangladesh lauds China's pledge on Silk Road fund

Updated: 2014-11-09 19:28


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DHAKA - A number of Bangladeshi experts have highly commented on Chinese President Xi Jinping's pledge to grant a 40-billion-US dollar Silk Road Fund for Eurasian infrastructure, saying this could alter the economic landscape of a vast area stretching from Asia to Europe.

Xi made the vow on Saturday when making a five-point proposal aimed at promoting interconnected development in the Asia-Pacific region as he met with leaders of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Ashfaqur Rahman, former Bangladesh ambassador to China, said, " We welcome the Chinese decision to create $40 billion Silk Road Fund."

He said there is no doubt to say that China's initiatives of reviving the ancient Silk Road will boost cooperation between China and various regional blocs.

Revival of the ancient Silk Road will also help to further deepen ancient ties with countries in the region, including Bangladesh, he said.

"We well understand the importance of such mega project and cost involved in process to implement it. No doubt to say that Chinese contribution will make things easy for the participating countries across the world."

It will also pave the way for bolstering economic ties between China and the countries in the region as many ancient seaports will regain their lost glory, he said.

China's initiatives to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road were put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping during two separate visits to Central Asia and Southeast Asia in 2013.

Xi's proposed "Silk Road Economic Belt" revival project could involve over 40 Asian and European countries and regions with a combined population of three billion.

The ancient Silk Road will contribute immensely for easy exchange of knowledge and ideas among extraordinarily diverse groups of people and create many more opportunities as what Rahman called "New Life".

He said China, which built a multibillion dollar railway line from the province of Qinghai to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, only in 2006, has now approved the building of a second rail line, this time from Lhasa to Nyingchi to the east, parallel to India's Arunachal Pradesh.

In 2008, China announced that in time it would extend the railway line to Khasa in the Nepalese border.

The career diplomat, however, suggested that China may consider to connect this line to Indian and Bangladeshi railway networks as part of Maritime Silk Road that would surely be a welcome project of the future.

Abdul Awal Mintoo, a noted Bangladeshi businessman who held many key positions at numerous business enterprises in home and abroad, said he highly welcome and appreciate China's decision.

"I am fully convinced and now we can hope that this Silk Road will a reality in the future which most of the Asian countries have been hoping," said Minto, former president of Bangladesh's apex trade body, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry or FBCCI.

The Silk Roads and Maritime Silk Routes would connect the 21st Century growth zones of Eurasia and East Asia through energy-rich Middle East, rising South Asia and well developed South East Asia to the wealthy North, i.e. Europe, Australia and America, encompassing Africa, said the former President of the FBCCI.

It will be a big boost to the globalization process, apart from facilitation of international trade and tourism, said Mintoo, chairman and chief executing officer of Multimode Group of Companies.

"The architects of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road aside from revisiting a historical fact will also have the unique opportunity in challenging the traditional notion of connectivity using today's advances in technology and engineering," Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, chairman of Unnayan Onneshan, a leading local think tank here, had earlier told Xinhua.

He said if the undertaking is done, this could result in a new form of global cooperation in economic, financial and technological aspects and could usher in an interdependence of humankind and its rich diversity setting aside fears of clashes among ideologies, cultural beliefs and traditions.

"History tells us that the erstwhile Silk Roads opened and fostered exchanges among the diverse civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, and Arabia, connecting the West and the East, through political, economic and cultural interactions primarily done by traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads, and urban dwellers who passed through the ancient route," Titumir said.

He said China's initiatives of reviving the ancient Silk Road through a network of roads and maritime linkages will certainly bolster political relations and cultural ties amongst the Bay of Bengal littorals and over the land-mass of Asia and continents further afield.