Business / Economy

Silk Road could revive vital link between East and West

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-21 10:14

DHAKA - China's initiatives of reviving the ancient Silk Road through a network of roads and maritime linkages will boost cooperation between China and the various regional blocs and could alter the economic landscape of a vast area stretching from Asia to Europe, according to experts in Dhaka.

"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, told Xinhua recently.

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He said that if the ambitious 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.

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.

President Xi's proposed "Silk Road Economic Belt" revival project could involve over 40 Asian and European countries and regions with a combined population of 3 billion.

Improved connectivity is essential to deepen any type of relations among countries, including political and cultural, said Fahmida Khatun, head of research of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), another local think tank.

Khatun said that China's proposal will help to further deepen its political and cultural ties with countries in the region, including Bangladesh.

"It will also pave the way for bolstering economic ties between China and the countries in the region," she said.

Bangladesh and China have a rich heritage of cultural and trade interaction developed through the South-West Silk Route, the ancient tea route and the maritime Silk Road, dating back to over two thousand years.

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