“China’s huge credits is a tactic to corner India”
Interview by Kishore Sarkar
China's decision to provide huge credits to Bangladesh is in fact a well thought out tactic to corner India and keep the country under pressure.
This view was expressed here today by the General Secretary of Bangladesh Jatiya Party and former minister Jiauddim Ahmed alias Bablu, who is also the former advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, during an exclusive interview.
Referring to China's policy of providing long term credits to Bangladesh in different sectors including for the purchase of military hardware like fighter aircraft and submarines, Ahmed said it was nothing but a ploy to corner India in the name of developmental assistance.
Bangladesh must remain very careful so that it did not become a victim of a Chinese debt trap as ultimately the tax payers of Bangladesh would have to pay back these huge loans from their hard earned money, he said as a note of caution.
Describing the present Indo-Bangladesh bilateral relations as 'historic' and very close and cordial,the Bangladesh Jatiya Party General Secretary admitted that without the help and assistance from the Indian army to the freedom fighters of his country, there was 'no way that we could snatch our Independence (from Pakistan)'.
Apart from directly fighting against the Pakistani aggression in the Bangladesh war of Independence and shed their blood, the Indian army had provided the necessary arms training to the Mukti Yodhayas (freedom fighters) and extended other logistic help while simultaneously making diplomatic efforts to seek international support for Bangladesh, Ahmed said
Such grateful contribution of India would not only be remembered for ever by the present generations of Bangladesh with tremendous respect, but would also be by the future generations, Ahmed said.
On his views about increasing Chinese investment and credits to Bangladesh, the former minister said though China had been extending huge loans to his country for various projects, their rate of interest was much higher than those of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JICA of Japan and others.
In addition they were also trying to take control over a number of sea ports and airports in Bangladesh in the name of development and modernisation like they had been doing in Nepal and used them for anti India purposes, Ahmed said
Citing examples he said apart from enjoying the long term lease of the Cylet Airport in the name of its proposed modernisation programme, they were trying to take control of the Lamonirhat airport too for the same purpose. Both these airports were considered to be very vital for having a clear aerial view over a large portion the Northeastern region of India and take the control, he said.
Expressing concern that China was also making a detailed survey for the construction of a deep sea port at Sonadia in Chittagong district, Ahmed said the country was also making efforts to make huge investments in the form of credits at Pyara sea port for its modernisation and further development.
Though China had also supplied an old submarine to Bangladesh after its renovation, they had, however, kept the complete control of the vessel in their own hands in the name of its maintenance and regular upkeep.
Interestingly under the bilateral agreement with China in this sector, there was no mention about the maximum number of Chinese experts required for the job, Ahmed pointed out and said it seemed that China might plan its possible war against India from the soil of Bangladesh by using it as its military base.
It was very unfortunate that though Bangladesh was in favour of its own development, China by extending huge credits in the name of developmental purposes, had been trying to grab the whole country. Bangladesh Jatiya Party would never support any attempt to declare war against India by purchasing arms and ammunition from China. "We are dead against the alleged attempts of China to take advantage of its economic might and would maintain its military aggression on others," he said.
About the role of Bangladesh government regarding the plight of Rohinga refugees from Myanmar, the former minister said it was very unfortunate that China was selling submarines and sophisticated arms like AK -47 rifles also to Myanmar. Since some of these arms were also reaching to several divisive forces in Myanmar they were in turn using them against Bangladesh,he said and thanked Prime minister Sheikh Hasina for not becoming a part of their debt trap.
About China's aggressive postures against India in the border areas, Ahmed felt that all border disputes should be resolved through negotiations like the one between India and China in Ladakh region. Jatiya Party does not support any such aggression and hoped that the present dispute between India and China on border issue would soon be resolved through negotiations.
On Bangladesh becoming an Islamic country despite fighting the Independence war with a promise to become a secular country, Ahmed said following the assassination of Father of the Nation Sheikh Muzibur Rahman, General Zia Ur Rahaman seized the power and had created an anti India sentiment and pro - Pakistani Islamic rhetoric in the whole country..
Stating that there was every scope for preaching of secular ideas within the Islam itself, Ahmed claimed that founder of Jatiya party and former President Hossain Mohammad Ershad was able to implement the idea of brotherhood among all religions in Bangladesh.
He also expressed concern at the increase in the number of terrorist and divisive activities during the rule of BNP government in 2001 when large number of minority people including those belonged to the Hindus Buddhists and the Christians had immensely suffered by these terrorist groups who 'do not have any religion of their own'.
On whether there was any consideration to create a bigger platform for all Islamic groups in Bangladesh, Ahmed clarified that Jatiya Party believed in 'moderate Islamic thoughts' and it had already formed a coalition of Islamic groups to bring them under one platform.
Moreover, a simultaneous effort was also underway to set up a much bigger anti -BNP and anti -Jamat platform with all likeminded Islamic groups, he said adding that Jatiya Party had also joined hands with the ruling Awami League for this purpose even as we believe in 'constructive criticism' of all anti people work in Parliament.
On Jatiya Party's stand about the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China and whether they took any concrete step to end the atrocities on Uyghur Muslims, the party General Secretary was of the opinion that since they believed in the idea of maintaining brotherhood among all sects of Muslims, they strongly opposed the Chinese government's aggression on the Uyghur Muslims.
Apart from requesting all peace loving nations in the world to create pressure on the Chinese government to stop atrocities on these people, we urge the Bangladesh government to write to the United Nations to take urgent steps to end the oppression against these hapless Uyghur Muslims, Ahmed said.
Dhaka August 25 2020