Speakers at an event in Dhaka emphasised on adopting a policy of transparency, good governance and people’s participation in the projects taken under China’s Belt and Road Initiative to make those more acceptable.
They also called for clarifying misconceptions on BRI projects, such as, these projects create debt traps, involve corruption and do not transfer technology.
Speakers made these remarks at a seminar on “BRI and Bangladesh” organised by private research organisation Center for Alternatives at a hotel in Dhaka on Monday.
Addressing the event, Song Yang, economic and commercial counselor at Chinese embassy in Dhaka, said China will soon emerge as the largest foreign investor in Bangladesh. The concept of BRI is cooperation, peace, openness and mutual advantage. China will step in in cooperating with Bangladesh broadly, and that will create equal opportunities for both countries and China will establish itself as a partner, he added.
Dhaka University economics professor MM Akash said there are economic aspects, as well as a political aspect of China's economic assistance to Bangladesh including the BRI. Chain has openly extended political support to Bangladesh, especially, to the ruling party, disregarding its past policy.
Center for Alternatives executive director and Dhaka University international relation professor Imtiaz Ahmed presented the keynote paper at the seminar. He said the Chinese infrastructures ensure stability against the conception of instability. However, some aspects should be considered, he added.
According to Imtiaz Ahmed, civil society should be more involved to make people aware of the positive and negative sides of projects, and if that happens, no certain quarters will be able to do politics on Chinese projects for their own interest.
Since China is coming with huge investment under the BRI project, the country must respect political, citizen and human rights, he added.
Dhaka University development studies department professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir said everyone must be alert in the perspective of the global competition centering the Indo-Pacific region. If conflict spreads out in these regions, investment will be at risk, he added.
Dhaka University international relations professor ASM Ali Ashraf gave the welcome address while professor Amena Mohsin gave the thanking remarks.