Open Access Library Journal
Vol.04 No.09(2017), Article ID:79476,21 pages

Danger of Typical Sovereignty: Chinese Way Forward from Neighborhood to Globalization

Maimul Ahsan Khan1,2

1University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

2Green University of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Copyright © 2017 by author and Open Access Library Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: June 29, 2017; Accepted: September 27, 2017; Published: September 30, 2017


In the twenty-first century, now China has become the second largest economic engine of the world. As a neighboring country, all important Bangladeshi predicaments are now more relevant to this reality than ever before. Chinese unfolding method of development should have many ramifications that we need to appreciate fully. Chinese systems of doing things have many facets that are not practiced in India and Bangladesh. Western military presence in Asian continent and beyond has made us overwhelmed and we are not keeping space with the dynamics of Chinese development. This is a challenge and opportunity for Bangladesh. Still we are under the shadow of India in terms of solving our national economic and security problems. Bangladesh has been facing many challenges in developing its own culture of polity and formulating economic and diplomatic strategies and policies toward many of its strategic partners, especially with friendly neighbors, like China and India. For Bangladesh, it is now a life and death situation as a sovereign country to make a balanced and friendly relation with India as well as China. In the backdrop of this reality, Bangladesh should come out from the shadow of India. Without active help and cooperation from China, possibly Bangladesh will not be able to succeed in this grandiose task of national building. The major purpose of this article is to examine how far our friendship with China might be helpful for strengthening our sovereignty and sustainable socio-cultural and economic development. In doing that, author of this article has tried to do a thorough and comparative analysis of proposed development assistance from China and India. It has successfully indicated the outcome of economic collaboration of Bangladesh with India and China.

Subject Areas:

Archaeology, Art


Relationship between China and Bangladesh, Globalization and Protectionism, Chinese Systems of Cooperation, Role of China in South Asia, Indian Hegemony, Rise of Bangladesh, Asian Factors of Development, Chinese and Muslim Culture Matters

1. Introduction

We live now in a globalized world. Bangladesh claims that all big powers are in good terms with its national interests. How powers like the US, India and China would be equally beneficial to Bangladesh and its vital interests of sustainable growth as a sovereign entity and development partner? At present, Washington and New Delhi are in the same page of history in terms of their foreign policies and development strategies. The US government under the Trump presidency has adopted a protectionism that has been opposed by China and supported by India.

The UK, India and Israel have been trying to be allied with Washington for their own economic and military interests, which appeared to be detrimental to the peoples’ interests of many countries around the world. Domestic policies are now too closed intertwined with foreign policies, which cannot be exclusive anymore. India has boycotted the China’s road summit held on May 14 and 15, 2017. Many top officials of 130 countries, including the heads of states had joined the Summit.

The Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) project were already signed by 68 countries. India has been taken these Chinese initiatives as a threat to its sovereignty. There is a possibility that Bangladesh might be deprived of the opportunities provided by the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) project, which will connect more than 65 capital-cities of Asia, Africa and Europe. This article would examine Sino-Indian rivalry in the greater South Asian region in the prism of the national interests of Bangladesh. Countries like Japan, South Korea and Indonesia did not fully appreciate the necessity of friendship between them and China. Since the collapse of TTP, we Asians are now in a very comfortable situation to allow China to come forward with its fullest potential of regional economic and cultural cooperation in Asia and beyond [1] .

Bangladesh is a uniquely placed country in terms of its integration policies with Asian peoples, particularly with the Chinese. Is Bangladesh is capable of cooperating and collaborating with China, which is just 90 miles away from our territorial borders for its own benefits in terms of inevitable regional and global integration? Can our friendship with China buttress our economic and cultural interests further? Can Bangladesh deter India not to be a spoiler of our own cultural pattern of growth and nourishment? Is 165 million people are too dependent on Indian prescriptions, if not dictation of doing things with foreign countries and policies? Can Bangladesh and its population learn more and quickly that over dependence on India may injure severely our Bengali culture and dignity as a unique ethnic identity in the world civilization? Will China as a global power help us more vigorously to save us as a small and newly independent country? What are the lessons of wisdom and societal values we can learn from Chinese traditions and experience of all kinds?

This article is keen to find some creditable answer to above mentioned questions. This article has avoided the ongoing territorial conflicting issues between India and China and found that those issues are a bit remotely related to the interests of Bangladesh, which of course cannot put a blind eye on that historical and complicated national and security concern of Beijing and New Delhi.

Is Myanmar’s Muslim Refugees in Bangladesh a Big Challenge?

As a Sovereign State, we Bangladeshis, are about to touch the threshold of half of a century.1 Our full potential is yet to be materialized in formulating and implementing our independent domestic and foreign policies. In establishing SAARC2 we played a pioneering role and still we are doing a lot to keep it running despite many challenges it has been facing because of two nuclear-weapons produces and arch rivals in the sub-continent.

Myanmar is our Eastern neighbor with a province called Rakhine state of Myanmar.3 Arakan or Rakhine is a Muslim populated state of Myanmar, which had long been under direct military domination after its political independence from the British.4 We all suffer from brutal atrocities under English colonizers, who had demarked territorial boundaries between our states in the region.5 It is only we as a nation had to liberate our country twice in 1947 and 1971.

Just after our final emergence as an independent and sovereign country, we had to overcome some serious internal and external challenges such as getting the de jure recognition from China and some influential Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia. We might have thought that by the end of 1970s, we are done with the external challenges or in dealing with influential foreign countries. The reality went on in different direction and since then we are somehow rather bog down with our internal challenges and with the mightiest neighbor, India.

We were very successful in managing many of our challenges and problems with our own resources. We managed to settle our disputing issues in the Chittagong Hill tracks6 areas [2] . In all this our supreme sacrifices have rather acclaimed by all international communities, which might have thought that the underlying issues related to Rohingya refuges and on-going atrocities in Rakhine state of Myanmar could be resolved permanently by Dhaka. Challenges and problems, including the influx of considering number of Rohingya minority Muslims, into Bangladesh as refugees has made many outsiders believe that we are not sincere to address this international humanitarian crisis. In reality our major predicament was and is the failure of diplomatic efforts to make India, China and other foreign powers to be involved in this man-made disaster.

The exodus of the minority Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh amplified following the alleged killing, rape and arson on them by the Myanmar army and hard liner Buddhists, who were not supposed to kill even an ant [3] . Elephant was kind of a simple of god for them. Cows in India have better protection than the Muslims or lower caste people in many corners of India. Millions of Arab refugees have no place to hide themselves. Looking for a safe shelter or a hospitable host country by Muslim refugees has remained a far cry to be heard by the ears of international communities. Rohingya Muslims’ plight to Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, and even in China has been demonstrating the worrisome situation for all of humanist people around the world.

First of all, is it merely a disastrous situation for Muslim refugees or deeply traumatize for all Muslim nations and their Western and Eastern counterparts? Some Muslim countries have become rouge States. With the combined efforts of China and India, as independent States, countries like Russia, Iran and Bangladesh might successfully avoid such an eventuality [4] . The issue of Rohingya Muslim is just an example to testify our essence as human being.

The issue should be considered from internal and local perspectives. You are being beaten brutally mercilessly by 10 persons in front of my home indicates my utter dismay and helplessness. Either I did not have the means or will to intervene in this brutal event or I was incapacitated by some internal or external forces. Doesn’t it indicate that my family members may face similar consequence at any time sooner than later? If my life and dignity would be threatened in a similar fashion, then who could safe me? In a Global Village we are in today invoke many questions in our hearts and minds that require some realistic answers and solutions.

The issues related to ethnic cementing of Rohingya Muslims and Muslims of Bengal knows a history of about one millennium, while ethnic tension between state-sponsored terrorists and peaceful men-women and children has been fleeing during last four decades again and again. Rohingya Muslims very often named as bandit groups attaching the Mag Buddhists7, who were not supposed to be engaged in such a whole scale brutality against innocent people living more than five hundred years in their vicinity as fellow-citizens.8 How it has been claimed by the murderous army of Myanmar that Rohingya Muslims had been killing Hindi minorities there. These are all baseless and unfounded accusation against Rohingya Muslims, who are now the worst victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

According to UNHCR, the exodus of Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar to Bangladesh in “the most urgent refugee emergency in the world”. How we as an independent neighbor and numerous human rights organizations and groups have been tolerating these crimes against humanity. In fact, there is every reason to consider these heinous and wide-spread atrocities as war crimes those are still remained unaddressed by the international communities.9

Why Bangladesh has failed to address Rohingya issues? Is Dhaka has been failing to address the issues related to the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI) project as well? Are these questions relevant to the sovereignty issues of Bangladesh? In the light of good governance we will discuss the issues below. Global economic situation is in deep crisis, while both China and Bangladesh are the names of thriving economies of the world. We need more active cooperation and collaboration between these two friendly peoples.

Good Governance Is Not an Empty Word!

There is a popular speech, “Winners have thousands fathers and losers have none”.10 Is there any possibility that President Trump and his cronies would be the winners in their battles of protectionist policies? Where are now the ideas of Limited Government or Welfare State? It demonstrates that our governmental machineries are less capable of concerting their efforts to show appropriate respect to our own public opinion and concerned international communities. Our governmental approach can be considered as immature or short-sighted in addressing the hopes and aspirations of our people and international communities. Bangladesh is considering the Rohingya issue once as load, another time as problem unmanageable magnitude, of course, not an opportunity to serve the entire humanity. The tragic events directly and indirectly revisiting us with a terrible picture of ethnic clinging just at our doorsteps, and we have been failing to address those in any responsible manner that match with our image as emerging tiger in South Asian region.

Sometimes it has been argued that we have not signed this or that international legal instruments or documents. This is totally nonsense. In such a grave circumstance, we don’t need to see what is written in which legal texts; we need to see what we can do to rescue the lives of human beings irrespective of their race, religion, and gender. In fact, gender, religious, ethnic, and national identities should not hinder us to stand up and rise up to the causes of humanity, human rights, and humanitarian causes.

A big and complicated country like India has its own predicaments in any issues in any bordering territories with it. Why does India have to be compassionate to Muslims in Myanmar, especially under the leadership of PM Modi11, who is a Hindu fundamentalist ready to eliminate all Muslims from India as well? However, we need to separate his leadership from many issues of India with us as a State and Muslim community, which has to live up to its own responsibilities and liabilities.

Modi [Indian Prime Minister] or Mamta12 [Chief Minister of West Bengal] may or may not be a well-wisher to Bangladesh, when it comes to a major regional, humanitarian or religious issue. Because they have their vested interests and own constituencies to reckon with. We all need to appreciate that in this region of the world, still we are fearful of the creation of a new State entity. For India and Pakistan, Roghingys are might be a reminiscence of the episode of our liberation struggle of 1971. For China also it might be the same. China has been claiming now as a great friend of Bangladeshis, who could not managed well the Chinese government to be with us before the end of 1975.13 If the role of China were different, Pakistan might have compromise to a peaceful way of creating an independent State of Bangladesh. Of course, dubious role of the US gave wrong signal to the military dictators of Pakistan, which is an “all seasons” friend of Beijing.

Pakistani army definitely committed all kinds of war crimes including genocide and crime against humanity in Bangladesh.14 But India and Pakistan facilitated the way of keeping all Pakistani army personnel including (Our General Ershad)15 above all kinds of possible persecution for their war crimes. And the US and China were silent spectators of the Shimla Agreement. In our Global Village bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreement can solve many problems quickly. Even the creation of a new State is not that of a difficult job now through regional or international agreements. Why our diplomacy with our neighboring countries is so weak until now begs many questions to be answered [5] .

One China and Different Economies Within

Since 1997 with the new concept of Two Economies in One Country and a stronger value to the theory of Mainland Chain now the Tables of global trade and business completely turned in favor of Beijing. While I had been teaching a course at the end of twentieth century on the possible rise of Chinese Economy that yet to compete the Japanese or American economic, I found that even a moderate assertion to the fact that Indian economic strength cannot be comparable with that of Chinese had been rejected forcefully by most of my fellow-American professors, who believed firmly that the New Delhi had a much brighter future than that of Beijing.

Mainland China did not destroy the capitalist economy of Hong Kong; rather Beijing has allowed it to grow faster to make both economic systems effective and dynamic.16 As a result, the overall rise of Chinese Civilizational state got momentum. Europeans and Americans still have been hunted by the typical operational system of nation-State, while Chinese people have been working with many nuances of ideological and value-based civilization-building.

Japanese, Muslims and Indians were supposed to appreciate many aspects of Chinese state-building efforts that are interested in combining ideological and Asian values. But rivalry over economic dividends of integrating Western mode of consumerism into Indian or Japanese State system overshadowed the Chinese overarching efforts to other Asian people. Moreover, conflicts in the South-China Sea made China look like an imperial State in the typical sense of Western Roman or European Colonial Empires.

Bangladesh might be a test case that would prove whether China or India really has any imperial goal in the South Asian region. Japan has already abandoned its imperial ambitions long ago. Many analysts are saying that because of its aging population Japan had to give up its imperial programs. This is not entirely true as Japanese people has become much peaceful and globalists than ever before.

Is the position of India and China same over Bangladesh issue and the duo use Bangladesh for their own interest? Firstly, look at the unprecedented rise of China in all fronts of global stage. Two decades ago many Chinese governmental officials, including the MP or President of China used to claim that they would never be a strong rivals of the US as Americans had accumulated so much powers of every type that was unknown to the human history before.

My disagreement with my Western counterparts appeared to them as an insult to their academic prudency, superiority, clarity and comprehensiveness. Their underlying thought was that many more cultural revolutions would take Chinese Nation to hunger and diseases that were rampant many times before. On the other hand, Shining India could easily overshadow even the prospect of revival of Japanese economy, which is shrinking day by day in its size and performance. The major academic problem with many of our academics and some of the Western is that they often argue like politicians rather than far-sighted researchers and innovative thinkers.

Bangladesh and China signed 26 deals and MoU (Memorandums of understanding) involving 24 billion USD (2400 crore BD. Tk.) during two-day Bangladesh visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.17 How to evaluate these bilateral agreements between China and Bangladesh?

For Chinese economy 24 billion USD is just like a peanut business now. The country has embarked a project called the Silk-road with an estimated cost about 18 trillion USD in the coming decades.18 Only country in the world that maintains a foreign reserves over 3 trillion USD.19 Time to time Chinese increase and decrease of foreign reserve counts a few hundred billion USD. Western Chinese cities are now directly connected to many European cities, including London. Londoners can buy even furniture or small and big electronic goods from China to be handed over through Ali Baba. Chinese willingness and capability to invest one trillion dollar every year in foreign economies around the world is no more a fantasy.

In Entire African Continent, no Western companies can beat the companies sponsored by the Chinese government and/or Chinese business communities. In this backdrop, the 24 billion USD investment package for Bangladesh proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016 is not a big deal at all. Problem is that whether we can absorb that money and it appears that we are still not fully prepared and maybe somehow incapable to absorb that kind of big foreign investments.

“China is set to sign off on loans worth over 24 billion USD to Bangladesh during President Xi Jinping’s visit on Friday, Dhaka’s biggest foreign credit line to date that will help it build power plants, a seaport and railways. Xi’s trip, the first by a Chinese president in 30 years, is aimed at boosting China’s involvement in infrastructure projects at a time when India is pushing investments of its own in Bangladesh, a country New Delhi considers its area of influence.”20

Beijing has offered more than 45 billion USD to Pakistan, which is incapable of using that huge capital for infrastructure and development. Our condition, I believe, much better than that of Pakistan. But now we have been becoming the battle-grounds for many foreign countries and companies for “quick money or profits”, destination of which is out of our imagination. By using this opportunity India has been retaliating in its profit-making ventures in Bangladesh.21

As a retaliatory measures India possibly will try to make Bangladesh as one of the important importers of Indian-made weapons, despite the fact that India is the biggest importer of foreign arms and ammunitions.

China Is Also Our Neighbor Like or Unlike India: Bangladesh Perspective

Though India is our nearest and biggest neighbor, but our business communities are now choosing Chinese companies over Indian, which by character and nature still remain with the psychopaths of the East Indian Company sponsored by the English people. India came up with the offer of 2 billion USD loan and assistance during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015.22 This 2 billion USD is actually nothing in compare to the offer made by China. Beijing attitude is clear: the size of the joint venture between China and Bangladesh is no problem and there is no dearth of capital for Bangladesh. It tells India: don’t be jealous, you can have also 10 to 20 billion USD for any joint ventures. Our problem is: who would be responsible for our environment protection? As all these capitals are coming here to make quick profit, so our tiny country may turn into a Big Junkyard of India or China. Where then we will find a Savor or rescuer?

China has taken Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh as its vital strategic partners under the policy of “One Belt, One Road”23 initiative that would generate huge energy and navigation in making Asian people stronger than ever before. Days of Western supremacy should be over soon. We should not forget the fact that Asians would constitute 70% of the total human race. The dynamism of China and Chinese economy would be a great wonder for outsiders for a long time to come.

What are the Chinese miracles going on at home and abroad? What they have achieved so far? One study shows that they have used building materials like cement, rods, etc. within the last few years whatever the entire America did within one hundred years of the 20th century.24

What a huge is the development works? China it has a population of 1.28 billion. The size of American population or people living in EU territories is about one-fourth that of Chinese. About one million Chinese die every year from overwork to make China the mightiest country of the world. Now 300 million Chinese can speak in English25 and the country is ready to provide scholarships to the foreigners more than that of America, Canada and European Union combined just with a condition that you have to learn Chinese language.

China maintains huge surpluses in every area productivity and consumption [6] . Bangladesh being territorially a small country has a very young and vibrant population more than 165 million half of which are below 20 of their age. Thus China can take Bangladesh as its neighboring ally that may learn many lessons for its own human resource development. Two friendly countries have already becoming close economic and strategic partners, who are like kind of natural allies in the region and beyond.

Both China and Bangladesh are keen to get seriously engaged with China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Arab World for sharing peaceful future together.26 However we as a nation need to keep US and India in our trust and confidence, otherwise they would act as spoilers for our development and prosperity. We cannot deny the fact that the military and bullying capabilities of the American and Indian corporate interests in our country are enormous.

If we can make sure that we are genuine economic patterns of China and Japan, and if we can earn their trust, then we can simply ignore Pakistan, which has very little to do with our future development and prosperity. Here underlying problem is that China takes Pakistan as a friend of all seasons. China has started doing similar or even better gesture to others in South Asian regions. For example, China has been offering about 8 billion USD as a soft loan to Nepal,27 whose GDP is just around 25 billion USD.

Bangladesh and Pakistan has been offered more than 40 USD for each none of which has that much of foreign reserve at its disposal. In fact, China’s investment has been increasing in South Asian region with such a rapid speed and bigger volume that no other power would be able to compete with China. More importantly, China has been doing all that keeping in mind that India might be alienated. That is why under the arrangement of BRICS and others, China has been providing more space to India, which is now pushing itself toward the Western hemi spare led by Washington and London.

India Is Now a Close Ally of the US: Sino-Russian Scenario

India is now a very close friend of America and Israel.28 Modi is first Indian PM to visit Israel. The friendship between the US, Israel and India can be viewed as a rival international alliance against the strong friendship between China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar are now like buffer States as Afghanistan was. Bulgaria and Poland was also buffer States29 between Turkey and European countries and Between Russia and Germany respectively.

What went wrong with those Buffer States? Why their conditions are so miserable in every parameters of life? Is Myanmar also wishes to embrace similar consequence that of Afghanistan or Bulgaria? India and Pakistan with their fanatic and irrational rivalry put Kashmir in a very precarious situation. Here benevolent China can offer various kinds of help for each and every communities living in the South Asian region.

None of the South Asian smaller States wish to take direct orders from New Delhi any more [7] . Bangladesh does not want to be in helpless conditions like others in the region. We don’t like to be in a similar situation like Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and even Pakistan. Reality is that all smaller countries in the South Asian region are either client or satellite statehoods for World Powers, including India. If we are neither a Buffer State nor a Client State for any of our regional and World Power, we are still remaining a huge industrial waste-zone (junkyard) for big Indian and Chinese companies. Instead of becoming a junkyard let us turn ourselves as a big user of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arab, Iranian and Indian capitals to create quality jobs for our people.

We have been sending millions of our poor men and women to do odd jobs around the world and have been inviting skilled foreigners at home to work for our RMG sectors and pharmaceutical industries.30 This is a suicidal strategy and policy makers are making us a laughing stock in front of all concerned quarters and parties. Millions of specialists cannot believe how Bangladesh could be such a big remittance earner for New Delhi, which has been receiving more than five 5 billion dollar USD per year, while our entire foreign currency reserve is just around 35 million USD. Thus any decent person has right to question our patriotism and path of prosperity in the coming years.

How can Bangladesh reap benefits through tactful diplomatic channels by developing good relations simultaneously with India and China? There is a great potential indeed at least in theoretical terms for now. But practically we don’t see that much because of our plight of disorganized urbanization and industrialization. Horrifying amount of capital has been moving out from the country by the same tiny “Wild Capitalists”, who have been looting our entire banking sector as well.

Still we are in a very preliminary stage of our diplomatic growth regarding our maneuvering capabilities as a diplomatic power. We have very little diplomatic maneuvering power in compare to India, China, Russia, and even Iran. A great people of the world, I mean Japanese has been losing diplomatic battles in many fronts and thus leading towards a disastrous consequence in term of catering the need of masses there and protecting environment.

With being little industrialized economy, very quickly we are heading to similar consequences, if not worst without being even a middle-income country. On the other hand, New Delhi’s blunder to the Eastern regions and provinces of India, particularly to Bangladesh and West Bengal is of horrendous proportion. For example, the creation of the Farakka Barrage and diverting the flow of upstream water was completely uncalled for. Depriving us from our water sources and putting us to a complete non-sustainable stage is in no way helpful for any people of India. This is not only a big blunder they did to us; this has also created horrific consequences to all neighboring Indian states boarding with Bangladesh.31

A number of so-called Seven Sisters have been now openly demanding that Farrakka Barrage should be demolished completely. Like the Chinese main problem with environment, India would definitely face similar eventually with water resources. China is very successful in managing its human resources that might be very helpful for fulfilling its environmental obligations to climate and “Our Mother Nature”. We wish to see the Indians to embrace similar type of success in India, where more than 600 millions of people go hungry on regular basis.

There is a treaty between India and Pakistan called “Indus Water Treaty”.32 That was signed in 1960 between Pakistan and India at the time when India still believed that Pakistan might be really a potential arch-enemy for India for many decades to come. According to that treaty India can have only 20 percent of that downstream water. The rest 80 percent water there must released by New Delhi on compulsory basis, otherwise the navigation of the Arabian Sea would be hampered and the whole region would face serious environmental calamity.

However, very recently Indian Prime Minister Modi has declared that he is pondering to scrap the treaty. Chinese government reacted angrily and threatened to withdraw its flowing rivers to Indian territories. For Iranians, Moscow has to take similar stand to keep the Nuclear Deal between Iran and Six World Powers. By stripping or ignoring international treaties, agreements, and legal instruments neither Trump nor Modi would be able to survive for long, but they may hurt the planet with irreversible consequences.33

Bangladesh Is a Very Unique Country: It Can’t Ignore China or India

Bangladesh is the biggest Delta of the world. It is a completely sea area. The country created by storing poli (Silty soil) for thousands of years. That is why it is called the “Poli Matir Desh” (land of silty soil) and people’s mentality is also like that. Once they created Pakistan, then went against Pakistan, and then created Bangladesh [8] . Once 90 percent people supported Awami League34 (the ruling Bangladesh Awami League) and then 90 percent people supported BNP35 (the main opposition political force Bangladesh Nationalist Party). It is may be because of the climatic condition of this country. India made barriers on 54 downstream rivers to Bangladesh and thus imposing fatal natural calamity on us. But why do the people of Bangladesh and its politicians fail to be vocal unilaterally on the issue?36

There is a story that once a priest came to this region. He along with his associates became astonished as the rivers they found in the morning dry and in the evening it was full of water. So he was scarred how people would receive an ideology for longer time. The other portion, however, marked it as good. It means there are so many things in their heads that can be washed away any moment and latest something can be pushed there any moment and they will keep it. That is the magic of this state. It is also a fertile land for the experiment of civilization.

Now look at Farakka Barrage! Is it an absolute necessity for Bangladesh and its neighboring Indian states. If you look at the history, Chanakya and Manu laws of India and all others. They categorically prohibit even the Brahmans (the highest class of Indian people) to create any artificial barrier on any natural and mineral resources such as water, wind, oil, gas and so forth. If somebody does that he is even prohibited to go to Mondir (temple for worship of the Hindus). It means that even a Brahman becomes napak (dirty) if he blocks the flow of water. So India even has no moral right to continue Farakka Barrage or other dams. But Bangladeshi people including the narrow-minded and divided politicians have no symptom of being united against this aggression.

There is a negative attitude from Indian side in case of any development and progress issue of Bangladesh. During the agreement between Bangladesh and China last November (2016) for purchasing two Chinese Submarines the reaction of India was very hard. How do you consider it?

I think Bangladesh government has no option but to maintain a good relationship with China. Government had to buy those (submarines). If government says today that it would not buy those from China, China may pull its strings in many big Chinese projects and/or joint ventures including the completion of Padma Bridge. Bangladesh must be looking for big foreign investments for our own economic sustainability.

Now China can easily place proposals for building a bullet train line from Dhaka to Kunming City of China through Myanmar. From Dhaka to Kunming it will take for us only two and half hours or maximum three hours [9] . We even cannot go to Comilla city (a city of Bangladesh only two hundred kilometer away) within three hours and you will go from Dhaka to Kunming only by three hours. We can go there for treatment. China may think that why many Bangladeshis should be spending millions of dollar for treatment in India, why not availing the facilities from world class Chinese hospitals. It is no more a difficult task for China to compete India or America at any global or regional levels. Both India and the US have taken China as their common enemy. Under any circumstance China is our friend and ally whose boarder is just 90 miles away from ours.

The proposed economic corridor named BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India- Myanmar) supposed to be connecting Kolkata and Dhaka to Kunming has not being progressing well, despite the fact the resources and technology had been offered by a number of Chinese companies. There is no doubt that BCIM could bring a lot of benefits to the people of these counties, especially to the poorest regions of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. There is a strong speculation that Indian reluctance making BCIM successful is the main obstacle yet to be removed.37

Further Rise of China Is Inevitable: Soviet and American Perspectives

In international affairs, Soviet Union wanted to impose communist rule over Afghan people from outside and later on Americans have started to do the same in the name of democracy. All these efforts have been failing because of the fact that the ruling elite of either sides are completely out of touch to their own people. The Americans came in Afghanistan with a long term venture there, but they are also creating the similar kind of artificial political and cultural barriers in Afghanistan.

Bangladeshi people also have a stronger opposition to any foreign entity aspiring to control their resources. If we look at Malaysia we can also observe same kind of phenomenon. Many quarters opposed to the development of Malaysia and its modernization, but the march of the founder of modern Malaysia Mahathir Mohammad was not stopped and the progress of the country proceeded on its normal way. So Bangladesh should have the confidence on its own strength and leave the fear of external forces. At present not the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but the Russian Federation and Mexico are the Number One oil supplier to China and US respectively.

Until very recently, the US presidents were served as global leaders, now China has been taking over the seat of World Leadership. President Obama had failed to ratify TPP and President Trump had withdrawn from TTP as a fulfillment of his electioneering pledge to the Americans and the world. The proposed TTP could easily control 40% of World economy. Now China will get a huge and unbeatable opportunity to establish another trade agreement with the nations in the region that will control more than half of the World economy [10] . We need to recognize the fact that China alone is the contributor of one-third of the World GDP and many countries would suffer serious stagnation in the growth of their economies as a result of sluggish conditions in the World Economy [11] .

Globalization is the ultimate reality for all States, bigger and smaller, around the globe. We are the global citizens now.38 It is a global world. Bangladesh is the initiator of the idea of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). SAARC is now in a very bad shape and practically an unsuccessful regional organization. So Bangladesh could do better if it would contribute to make SAARC active and pro-people just like another ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). About 25 percent of the ASEAN trade capability is being used within the member countries while SAARC countries use only 5 percent of their trading capability within the member states. The rest 95 per cent capabilities they use in other countries. So this reflects the dilemma of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is in practically surrounded by India and we should not make India too angry on the one hand and on the other hand we should not make ourselves too dependent on India. Federations formed by the Russians and Indians no more can isolate them from the rest of the world.

However, regional cooperation between States and regional autonomy within any particular State is also a reflection of globalization. India is a Federal state and Mamota Banargee, Prime Minister of Indian West Bengal, has been enjoying a good autonomy to make Bengalis in India a thriving ethnicity. Unfortunately neither India nor China has been giving much attention to the Muslims of Myanmar. Rakhaine can easily maintain autonomy in the State of Myanmar and same should to be true for Kashmir of India and Pakistan.

Two arch rivals in our subcontinent keeping Kashmir and Bengal as their battle grounds to justify their possession of nuclear weapons. As a result, China would definitely exploit the situation. Keeping Pakistan as a deterrent to the rise of India as a regional and global leader, Beijing will not fight the US militarily. President Trump’s declared protectionist policies would crumble sooner than later.

In the face of American protectionism, EU countries, Japan, Korea, China and many others would soon realize that regional cooperation between States will make them stronger players in global stages as well. The role and influence of international organizations such as WTO, ICJ, ICC and many others may not occupy a domineering place in the coming decades of the 21st century. All kinds of raw materials including oil and gas may lose their instrumental role for industrial growth. Success of using alternative sources of power and energy, bio-diversity and creative multi-culturalism would shape State-building process and acceleration of the speed of world trade and business.39

A typical kind of Communist-State ideology proved to be wrong for any long-lasting human freedom, dignity and decency. Heads of the States like China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and many others have started to realize this universal truth about the policies of Human rights and Rule of Law. In fact, all have been trying to adjust and readjust their State policies to keep them safe from a splendid isolation to the entire process of globalization and multi-culturalism within State boundaries and beyond.

President Trump might have thought that his foreign Muslim enemies are already dead for ever and he can handle his own Mexican and Muslim population like the Ugurs in China. Like many other Muslim ethnicities, Chinese Muslim minorities are still remained trapped like the frogs are small and sallow stagnant water. President Trump has been behaving like a Muslim Kings of the medieval era that has been revisiting the Muslim World now through the policies of Erdugan-like leader, who are the reminisce of Kemal Tataruk, Iranian Shas or Absolute Arab kings. However, they like to glorify themselves as their remote predecessors, who commended an absolute obedience to their thrones. Chinese people have no King’s thrones there in China and their going back to their Asian civilizational roots with their three thousand years’ of history.

Global Politics at a Crossroad: Influence or Domination of Chinese Systems

We are at crossroads. One road may easily push us to an unbearable authoritarianism. Another road can make globalization beneficial to all concerned parties. Multi-culturalism and cosmopolitan future might not be out of our common reach. The doctrines of authoritarianism, protectionism and populism may gain quick political currency that we have been witnessing under the rule of President Trump. But these are very dangerous drift from the ideas of oneness of human race and humanity. The so-called “strong men” leaders usually fall short of common sense and human decency that we all need to practice in any globalized system. By pushing a very hard Brexist for her country, PM May put the EU in crisis, but that might not bring much benefits to English people either. Similarly President Trump may erect a huge wall between the US and Mexico, but ultimately that will be detrimental to many American interests in areas of business and commerce.

Trump’s America, Putin’s Russia, Modi’s India, Duarte’s Philippines, and Erdogan’s Turkey may provoke other nations to resort extreme nationalist and feistiest thought and actions to protect their class interests at the cost of human rights and humanitarian causes. After World War I, neither the European nor American nations could give birth to any strong international institutions or system. As a result, ideas of protectionism received tremendous support among the colonialist or imperialist circles. At the end that led to the rise of Hitlerism and Stalinism.

The rise of xenophobia and extreme nationalism does not allow the humanitarian causes to be addresses appropriately. Thus identity crisis and economic depression must linger up to a position when desperate search for scapegoats find some results. The history 1930s in many region of the world clearly demonstrates how devastating that might me for masses across the board. Along with Chinese people, many Asian people were pushed to famine and the argument was that Asian Nations had no future for growth and development [12] .

As civilized nations we need to find new avenues to nurture our societies to be evolved as the catalysts of human rights and humanitarian causes. We have witnessed that the populism in 1930s in Europe had devastated almost all European nations. We don’t like to see that in Asia or in any other continent.

Two World Wars taught many hard lessons to the world in general and the Europe in particular. As a result some European nations had played significant role in formulating universal human right laws. EU as a whole is a good example for creating legal mechanism fighting against racial discrimination and religious prejudices. Americans and South Asians can learn a lot of good lessons from EU as well.

Traditional meaning of sovereignty and citizenship is no more worthy for a global man or woman. The way Rohingya Muslims were driven out from Myanmar and their citizenship rights were taken away that should be regarded as the greatest humanitarian tragedy of the twenty-first 21st century. If Myanmar can get away with these heinous crimes against humanity, then tomorrow New Delhi led by PM Modi may resort the same strategy against millions of Indian Muslims, who might be even pushed to other neighboring countries, including Bangladesh.

My government or country is right or wrong should be obliged blindly is an out-dated postulate and cannot regarded as universal policy for the entire mankind. For a global citizen to be critical about one’s own governmental policies is now a kind of great sign of patriotism. No country or nation is now immune to globalization and multi-culturalism. Inter-faith dialogues based on civilizational values should be the main highways through which we should drive ourselves for furthering the causes of development, prosperity and human rights.

Extreme nationalists’ views cannot serve the causes of globalized world. At present global politics envisages as a multilayered system based on multi-culturalism. This concept of pluralism is not a threat to any good statehood; no state will be vanished because of this multi-layered system of running any government. EU Members and China are the glaring examples of this thesis. State authorities and legal mechanism would be rather stronger and more pro-people because of the adoption of such pluralistic concept of State and government.

China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR): Reaction of India toward Bangladesh

In 2013, President Xi Jinping has started to lunch Chinese initiative of OBOR that potentially can connect 65 countries through the Silk Road and maritime connectivity. At the initial stage China wanted to start with one trillion USD and then go for any amount needed for this ambitious and vital trade route beneficial for hundreds of millions of people across three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa., The connectivity that goes as the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar route was initially nodded by India quite well in the fact of emerging TPP arrangement.

At-present it is hard to know what really New Delhi wishes to do with the proposed connectivity. What is clear though is that India has taken it as a change to its hegemony in the greater South Asian region. In the background of this Indian uncertainty of becoming active party to this proposed inter-continental connectivity, China has come up with huge investment policies in all South Asian countries. India was very slow to react to huge amount of soft loans to other countries. But the moment President Xi Jinping offered about 40 billion USD to Bangladesh, Indian reaction was very prompt and apparent.40

On the occasion of the visit of President Xi Jinping to Dhaka, on October 14, 2016 Bangladesh and China have signed 28 development projects the primary cost of those were estimated about 21.5 billion USD in Chinese foreign aid predominantly in the form of soft loan. This news caught New Delhi with a great surprise and as a kind of retaliation, India managed to sign 33 agreements with Bangladesh on April 8, 2017. The main areas of joint ventures were identified as the port construction, railways, roads, airports, power and energy, telecommunications and military and security collaboration. The total estimated cost has been calculated up to 5 billion USD. Rampal project alone would cost more than one billion USD.41

The risk of hazardous and radioactive metals and chemicals from Rampal coal-based electricity production has been estimated by many credible international organizations, including UNESCO. In an article titled “A new power plant could devastate the world’s largest mangrove forest”, The Washington Post has demonstrated that the Sundarbans mangrove a designated World Heritage Site would be in severe danger leading to the destruction of the entire region and far beyond.

The China’s “One Belt, One Road” was very good news for Bangladesh that should not be challenged by our mightiest neighbor, India. But New Delhi cannot tolerate good relations between China and Bangladesh and thinks that the rise of a new economic power in the region might be detrimental to the interests of India. In reality Bangladesh as a big economic power and business partner of India and China is good news for all concerned quarters.

Initiative taken by China to connect South Asian economies to the major Eurasian and European economies could make our economies inclusive and capable. At present, Bangladesh has billions of USD trade deficit with India, which can easily harm our economy in a very big way. But, in the final analysis, that might be detrimental to the neighboring Indian-States as well. We have seen that how Farakka Barrage has not only destroyed northern region of Bangladesh, it is now posing serious threat to West Bengal, Bihar, and other neighboring Indian States. All these provincial governments of India have been asking New Delhi to dismantle the Farakka Barrage.42

Maritime silkroad may appear adventurous project for Bangladesh and its neighboring Indian States (seven-sisters as we call them). This (the Easter provinces of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar) is the least connected region of the world. Bangladesh can easily have a 20 billion USD export market in these seven States of Indian Federation. Moreover, maritime Silk Road along with the road connectivity between Bangladesh and Seven Sisters of India potentially minimize the serious damage to 165 million Bangladeshi, who remains the victims of dumping outdated technology and goods to this tiny land of ours. Within decades Bangladesh will emerge as a market of 250 million people with an economy of 2 trillion USD. It is important that Dhaka protects its economy from the imposition of military hardware and other costly items that we can hardly bear as a growing economy.

China as a development partner of Bangladesh has been proving its good will gesture to Bangladesh people, who still remain the primary customers of all Indian products and services, including Medicare, education and tourism. Here we may mention that India has been more foreign currency from Bangladeshi tourists than the American tourists, who used to be the largest group of foreign tourist in India.

It is not too difficult to appreciate why India has been feeling suspicious and jealous about the China’s “One Belt, One Road” without which Chinese capability of competing Western economies may even decrease dramatically. China is set forth very well to become the biggest economy of the world as the US was for last few decades. During last a quarter of a century without any apparent rivalry of Cold War like situation Americans could emerge as the moral leaders of the human civilization. But Washington was happy to act as a global policeman with its unprecedented military power human history has even seen. The world is still without any moral leader-country and China has been emerging as a civilization-leader of the East, and maybe for the West as well. This is now a reality of global importance and such a reality would be more prominent if China can fight the underlying issues of environmental degradation and corruption, which are very common problems for many countries, including India and Bangladesh.

Areas of cooperation and collaboration between China, Bangladesh and India are too many to be ignored by any of the concerned authorities. People to people connection and cooperation would be more important in the coming decades, whereas South Asian elite has still remained obsessed with their colonial past that is enormously damaging and harmful for South Asia in particular and Asian and Africa in general. We need to discover ourselves as new partners of the Chinese people, who should not have any grievances against us because of our colonial mentality and animosity between ourselves in the greater South Asian region.

Many credible specialists, including Prof. Caihua Zhu have been calculating that Asian countries need about 26 trillion USD for world-class infrastructure development of Asian region by 2030.43 The OBOR initiative is the answer to many problems related to that demand and reality that has been ignored by India so far. We need to appreciate that OBOR would not only connect 65 countries to an internationally available common trade route; it will serve about 4.5 billion of world population who are about to control half of the global GDP. Because of the short-sighted policies formulated in the helm of New Delhi, we as an independent nation should not be deprived from this heaven-sent opportunity to connect ourselves to the rest of the world.

2. Conclusions

Nation-states as independent entities are of recent origin. After the collapse of imperial and colonial powers, newly emerging States have started to suffer from illusive understanding of sovereignty. Bangladesh is no exception to that universal phenomenon. However, China as a State-power has been maintaining some unique features that have no parallel on earth [13] . In the past, China appeared to be a typical communist country similar to the USSR and was not too far from India in cultivating friendship with ideologically antagonizing or diverse State-entities. However, unlike China, no state stood up for communist ideals with Asian values and at the same use of capitalism as a vehicle of strengthening its own industrial base and global standing in international trade and commerce. As a result, during the last three decades, China has emerged as an unbeatable industrial and innovative power with all kinds of cutting edge technological know-how. As a global power, it is expected that China should come up with a set of complete global strategies to deal with allies, who have been fighting over their own industrial and commercial interests. To achieve that, Chinese vision of reviving Silk Road connectivity world-world need to be appreciated by all its friends and foes.

The OBOR project still may appear too ambitious for many quarters.44 But China has already offered more than six hundreds of billions USD for this project.45 In fact, because of that Chinese enthusiasm, countries like Nepal and Laos have been materializing their big infrastructural development projects, about which they could not even think earlier.46 The sizes of the economies (GDP) of those two countries are relatively smaller compare to the size and growth of the economy of Bangladesh. The total economic volume of Bangladesh is yet to reach to one trillion USD, which will make the country a competitive one in the near future. At present, export goods and services from Bangladesh to foreign countries can try to reach to a mark of one hundred billion USD.47 Another important phenomenon we have to note that Bangladesh loses about 15 percent of its export-earning because of invoices’ irregularities and corruption.48 In other words, in foreign trade also we as a nation have been failing to bring our dues from foreign lands. However, for its biggest neighbor, India, Bangladesh is the third largest foreign currency earner.49

Moreover, tourists and patients from Bangladesh to India have started to occupy the top most position among all foreign-visitors in the territories of India. Bangladesh has been incurring a trade deficit of 5 to 6 billion USD with India on early basis.50 In the backdrop of all these dynamics of Indo-Bangladesh relations, Dhaka needs to appreciate the importance of the OBOR project initiated by China that can potentially diversify our infrastructure and industrial development process significantly. Keeping all these factors of conflicting interests in Sino-India relationship over the mega development projects in Bangladesh, Dhaka needs to prioritize its policies toward the One Belt, One Road world-wide project of China. Along with that under the revival of Silk Road connectivity Bangladesh can formulate a series of farsighted strategies with China and may hope to become a sustainable country economically, politically and culturally.

Rivalry between India and China is both a historical and cultural reality for the people of Bangladesh as is the animosity between India and Pakistan. Bangladesh could not take advantage in the conflicting situation between India and Pakistan and the ongoing arms race between this arch rivals in our subcontinent. For India, China is a formidable counterpart, if not enemy. But globalized world dynamics have blurred the lines of friendship and animosity. Despite all kinds of unfriendly gesture between India and China, they cannot eliminate each other from the global stage. For both these gigantic economic and military powers, Bangladesh is a fertile microcosm of that global stage of rivalry and cooperation. India has failed to nurture this unique emerging economic tiger of Bangladesh, which is now even scared of a problem like Rohingya refugees. The way China has been cooperating with the entire African continent; we can really hope more generosity from Chinese investors in our country and others South Asian countries. In return, China can easily reap longer-time dividends from South Asian people, which is a habitat of 2 billion people.

Cite this paper

Khan, M.A. (2017) Danger of Typical Sovereignty: Chinese Way Forward from Neighborhood to Globalization. Open Access Library Journal, 4: e3789.


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2The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$ 2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

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8Mclaugh Lin, Tim (8 July 2013). “Origin of ‘most persecuted minority’ statement unclear”.






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20“China to Give Bangladesh $24 Billion in Loans After India Gives $2 Billion.” At:

21See for details, “New Delhi eyes big defence pact with Bangladesh during PM Hasina’s April [2017] visit”, At:

22Will Narenda Modi’s 2 billion loan to Bangladesh be a setback for China?

23“China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Takes to Space”, At:

24See for details, “How China used more cement in 3 years than the U.S. did in the entire 20th Century”, At:


26See for details, “China, Russia, Iran: Ports and Power Along the Belt and Road”, At:





31See for details, “India, Bangladesh and the Farakka Barrage”, At:


33See for details, “Lessons from Brics 2016: Old friends are good, but China is keen to contain India”, At:

34See for details,



37See, Mitra, Ramtamu, “Time is Ripe to Implement the Kunming Initiative”, At: Greater Eurasian Project, 17, June, 24, 2016.

38Globalization and the Changing Role of the State, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2008.

39See for details,

40See for details,

41See for details,

42“Head Regulator Gates (Farraka barrage) for diversion of approximately 40,000 cusec (1035 cumec) of discharge into the Feeder Canal. The project construction commenced in 1961 and the project was commissioned and dedicated to the Nation in May 1975. Main objective of the Farakka Barrage Project complex is to divert adequate quantity of Ganga waters to Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system through 38.38 km long feeder canal for preservation and maintenance of Kolkata Port …” At :

43“Asia needs $26 trillion for infrastructure investments until 2030”, at:


45 Retrieved 25.05.2017