We are not China's tail: Momen

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said Bangladesh is not subservient to any country while it never tilted towards China as Dhaka maintains a “balanced and independent” foreign policy.

“We are not anyone’s tail . . . We are not China’s tail,” he said speaking at an interaction with members of Diplomatic Reporters Association of Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka.

Momen added: “Some people think we are rushing towards China, but (actually) we are not heading towards anyone.”

He called Beijing a development partner but ruled out any possibility of being exposed to “Chinese debt trap”, an idea which, he said, was propagated by some groups or ‘pundits’.

“This is a wrong perception. Some pundits say this and many believe it, especially some foreign institutions. Under no circumstance, will we fall into the Chinese debt trap”, Momen said.

“We are very prudent, careful in taking foreign loans. We do not take unnecessary loans”.

Momen said Bangladesh steadily continued to follow Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic foreign policy - Friendship to All, Malice towards None – to pursue its aim to ensure the country’s development through public welfare.

The foreign minister termed Dhaka’s ties with next door neighbour India “rock-solid” and “we are in a golden chapter in our relations with India”.

He said Dhaka-Washington relation was good as well and according to US President Joe Biden himself Washington wants to improve relations with Bangladesh.

Dhaka, Momen said, was maintaining close ties with Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.

“We have good relations with all countries. That is why when we contest any election in the UN, we win,” he said.

According to IMF, a country could be exposed to risks of being debt-trapped if over 55 per cent of its overseas loan comes from a single source or country.

But, Momen said, foreign loans stake in Bangladesh’s GDP was 13.78 per cent, of which 61 per cent was provided by international agencies like ADB, IMF and the World Bank while Japan became Bangladesh’s highest single country loan provider with 17 per cent.

From China, the foreign minister said, Bangladesh took US$ 3.5 billion, which is 0.75 per cent of the total GDP.

DCAB organised the event as its flagship programme while the interaction was moderated by the forum’s president Rezaul Karim Lotus.