Bangladesh has said the ‘strategic partnership of cooperation’ with China is not only business or friendly relations but it also carries a much deeper sense having a significant impact on Bangladesh’s socioeconomic development through multidimensional engagements.
“The partnership is now much deeper that has been established for mutual development and welfare,” Bangladesh Consul General in Kunming Dr Md Tauhedul Islam told UNB in an interview.
He said Chinese investment has already started pouring into Bangladesh since the historic visit of its President Xi Jinping’s visit to Bangladesh on October 14-15, 2016. “More Chinese investment will go to Bangladesh.”
The visit witnessed the signing of 27 agreements with a prospect of over US$ 30 billion investment in various fields of Bangladesh.
“China is such a country which believes in practicality,” Tauhedul said indicating that China executes whatever decision it takes.
He said there are examples that signed agreements remain unimplemented but China is an exception in that sense.
Terming the relations between Bangladesh and China a “multidimensional” one, the diplomat said China’s cooperation continues in the areas of infrastructure, social and industrial development, education and health sectors.
He hoped that there will be a positive impact of Chinese investment on all these areas as there are commitments from both sides.
Tauhedul said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a “pragmatic” policy to find a sustainable solution to the crisis.
He said the ministry, for the first time, has opened a cell to deal with the Rohingya-related issues with an appointment of Director General level officer.
Tauhedul said the government is in the right direction under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Hope, there’ll be good news.”
The diplomat said there are efforts to see a much stronger presence of Bangla language and culture in China, the world's most populous country with 1.4 billion people. “It’ll be a big matter of pride for us if we can spread Bangla language and Bangalee culture in such a big country like China.”
Referring to Rabindranath Tagore’s visit to China, Tauhedul said Tagore had said all the possibilities were there to flourish Bangla and Bengalee culture in China. Tagore went to China twice -- in 1924 and 1928. On his first trip, he stayed for several months.
Highlighting the initiatives so far taken in Beijing and Kunming, the diplomat said these efforts need to be intensified to make Bangla’s presence stronger.
Tauhedul said over 10,000 Bangladeshi students are now studying in China on various fields while the number is around 5,000 in greater Yunnan.
He said the days are not far away when Chinese students will also go to Bangladesh for study purpose as foreign students are already there in Bangladeshi educational institutions.
Tauhedul laid emphasis on maintaining standard, improvement in teaching methodology, innovations and quality research facilities in Bangladesh.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in 2016, he had a “fruitful” meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements, including the plan to invite 600 Bangladesh youths to visit China in the next four years.
Tauhedul said a 158-member Bangladesh youth delegation is taking part in the Bangladesh-China Youth Camp 2019. “I hope another delegation will visit Yunnan next year. And after that there’ll be an extension of the programme.”
Between 2017 and 2018, there were already 300 of them who visited China under the youth camp, according to the Chinese Embassy.
The two-week Bangladesh-China Youth Camp 2019 began at the Yunnan University on Monday for the third time, aiming to strengthen people-to-people contact and cultural bonding between the two countries.
Some of the previous participants studied Chinese language, and have been granted scholarships for further education in China.