After attending United Nations (UN), General Assembly and attending the World Economic Summit 2019 in India as Its chief guest, and making a bilateral visit to India, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh held a press conference on October 9. She spoke about her activities related to these occasions in some detail. Of special importance were some developments she mentioned regarding future connectivity within South Asia and East Asia.
The prime minister delivered important signals to Myanmar, China, and India, stating that her country would be connected with China-India-Myanmar link road. However, now the world knows that in Bangladesh the Rohingya refugee problem is a big issue. The Rohingyas are citizens of Myanmar, but authorities there drove out 1.1 Million citizens to Bangladesh and refuse to take them back. In the recent UNGA, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina drew the attention of the world community concerning the Rohingya refugee crisis. She came up with four points for resolving this issue, but the position of Myanmar is still ambiguous.
However, in this situation, Sheikh Hasina had shown remarkable statesmanship. She did not link up to other issues with Myanmar. She stressed that Bangladesh would join China-India-Myanmar road link. The contrast between her and with other politicians was clear. For instance, we have seen how Pakistan and India are unable to settle many issues. The South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) is not functioning for these two countries fighting over Kashmir.
Sheikh Hasina adopted an approach stressing her economic diplomacy by endeavouring to dissolve the Rohingya refugee issue and also joining the China-India-Myanmar road link. She is aware that if she did not join this link road project, Bangladesh would miss an opportunity. This China-India-Myanmar link road will bring new connectivity through Eastern Asia to South Asia. Bangladesh is its gateway. So, as a gateway, Bangladesh will benefit. Sheikh Hasina did not lose the opportunity.
The PM outlined a new aspect of connectivity in her presser. She announced that the new Seaport, Payra Seaport of Bangladesh, would be used by all South and East Asian countries. Besides, Bangladesh would establish a bay terminal near the Karnafuli River Tunnel in Chattogram. Like the Payra port, this terminal will be open for Eastern and South Asian countries. Bangladesh would also use the facilities of most of the Indian ports. No country, she said, could be developed alone and now was the time of connectivity.
In this context, she mentioned green energy connectivity. Bangladesh would buy electricity from Bhutan and Meghalaya's hydro-electricity plant. Bhutan and North-East states of India like Meghalaya have a huge potential of hydro-electricity. For maintaining ecological balance, the world is much emphasizing on green energy. The Prime Minister told newspersons that she was trying to make green energy transfer possible through regional electricity incorporation.
Besides hydro-electricity, Bangladesh and India are evaluating the probability of another kind of green electricity: in Rajasthan, India, there is a major solar power plant. Both the countries are discussing how Bangladesh can buy this electricity. If this is possible, it will prove that all types of connectivity not only help the economy but also help nature and maintain the balance of ecology. Bangladesh is a small country with a dense population. Thus, its leader has to think very positively for protecting it.
A state award-winning journalist, Swadesh Roy can be reached at [email protected]