In Bangladesh, catastrophic cyclones have such fascinating and fearful feminine names. Sitting in the Ganges delta, the statelet is very prone to cyclone, earthquake, flood, riverbank erosion and other deadly disasters.
Illiteracy, poverty, and famine blockaded her way towards prosperity. Political instability hammered her status quo. Million fled homeland. But none of these could stop Bangladesh from achieving her dreams. Each storm mauled and made her roots stronger.
A highly fertile arable land, rivers, suitable weather, hardworking people and of course the glittering garments industry as well as export-oriented policy -all together altered the fate of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is Rising and Shining
Nevertheless, the youngest SAARC state has leapfrogged all of her South Asian elders in terms of economic growth rate. Bangladesh is now not merely an economic model, but also a role model for many developing states. Notably, the economy grew 7.86 per cent in the financial year 2017-18. A steady, performing and prosperous state of 160 million people is now a lucrative market. The economic vibrancy is immensely appealing.
China- The God Father
People’s Republic of China was reluctant to establish diplomatic relation with Bangladesh initially. When Bangladesh sought UN admission, China vetoed. Later, a chilling winter day of 1976 aroused the warmth of Sino-Bangla bonhomie. However, the diplomatic relation was established. Much before, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founding father of Bangladesh and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai exchanged visits, twice, in the 1950s and 60s.
Now, the Sino-Bangladesh relationship is moving in an upward trajectory. More Bangladeshi citizens are traveling to China. More and more Chinese are holidaying in Bangladesh’s tourist spots. Bangladeshis are testing Chinese cuisines, learning their tongue Mandarin, tuning into Chinese channels. China is hunting Bangladeshi talents across sectors like medical, science, technology, social science. Together with, the numbers of Chinese fellowships for Bangladeshis are increased. Chinese investment is generating massive employment in Bangladesh.
When President Xi Jinping was on a two-day state visit in Bangladesh in 2016, China extended an economic assistance of $24 billion to Bangladesh for twenty-four projects. This was the first visit of a Chinese Premier － after three long and eventful decades. The significance of the Presidential visit was tremendous. Blossomed more businesses. Coupled with, Chinese corporations pumped more money into the Bangladeshi market through FDI. The FDI increased to $506 million in FY 2017-18 from $68.5 million in 2016-17.
Partners in Prosperity
Notably, now China is the largest trading partner of Bangladesh. The two burgeoning economies are busy with business, accounting for bilateral trade of $12 billion. Moreover, both states gave Most Favored Nation status to each other in 1984. It is now importing most goods from China.
Together with, the quantity and value of imports- both are increasing every year. On the other hand, Bangladesh has been exporting jute and jute goods, knitwear, flowers, frozen and live fish, crab, fruits, paper yarn, vegetables in huge quantities to China. A signatory of the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement, Bangladesh enjoys duty free access to China’s market for plenty of her export items.
Furthermore, shortage of energy was a roadblock towards Bangladesh’s development. It’s no more. Foreign economic assistance is being utilized to fulfill Bangladesh’s target of producing 24,000 megawatts of electricity by 2022. TBEA, a Chinese enterprise and Dhaka Power signed a power grid deal worth $1.6 billion. Sino-Bangladeshi joint ventures like Bangladesh-China Power Co Ltd are mushrooming in the power generation spectrum. However, Russia has pledged $12 billion financial and technical assistance to the country for the construction of her first nuclear plant at Rooppur in northwestern district Pabna.
Arms Supplier to Strategic Partnership
From what Henry Kissinger called a bottomless basket, Bangladesh has become a tigress economy. Moreover, as the economy rises, emerges national security threat. PM Hasina, who in last December secured a fourth term, survived several assassination attempts.
In brief, the defense budget of the country accounts for nearly 6 percent of the national budget. Over 160,000 personnel are employed in the military service of Bangladesh.