Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi yesterday said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping, would help Bangladesh achieve its development goals showing the path, where Bangladesh wants to go.

Addressing a launching ceremony of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum held at Jatiya Press Club, he said, “We need not worry.

I want to emphasise very clearly this is not a zero-sum game, it’s a positive-sum game. We can benefit from the various initiatives,” he said, ruling out any conflict with any country or other regional initiatives which are already in place.

The foreign affairs expert said Bangladesh’s support and participation in the BRI do not exclude the country from participating in other initiatives in the region, and will have no conflict with any country.

“Our prime minister has been emphasising the importance of connectivity for the last 10 years,” said Dr. Rizvi, adding that the premier sees connectivity as the mechanism and route to Bangladesh’s prosperity and stability.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo, Chairman of the Forum and Former Industries Minister Dilip Barua, Former Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, BNP standing committee Member Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan and writer Syed Abul Maksud, among others, spoke at the event.

“We’ve launched our own connectivity, BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal); we had already joined BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) economic corridor.

We’re a member and hosting Bimstec,” he said, adding that BRI is really in many ways a purpose-made initiative for advancement.

Recalling Bangladesh’s foreign policy goal, Dr. Rizvi said Bangladesh not only can take advantage of the BRI but also can promote its national interest, national prosperity, peace, and stability.

Chinese Ambassador Zuo said Bangladesh and China need to work together to push the bilateral relations towards a new era and better future, bringing more benefits to both peoples.

The Chinese envoy said Bangladesh is an important partner for China in the BRI and in production capacity cooperation in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region from every angle, including its location, the size of its population, its market potential and the cooperation scope.

“As next year will mark the 45th anniversary of China-Bangladesh diplomatic ties, we need to work together to create a congenial atmosphere for cooperation, and deepen our policy connectivity and people-to-people bond,” he said.

The envoy said Bangladeshi people’s dream of a strong and wealthy nation, manifested in the dream of “Sonar Bangla”, and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation pursued by the Chinese people is interconnected and share many common merits.

Dilip Barua said the concept of Silk Road is important for Bangladesh’s economic development, with enhanced connectivity on all fronts.

China remains the largest trading partner to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh became the second largest trading partner to China in South Asia in 2018, and the biggest market for engineering contracts signed, according to Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.