Bangladesh Cancels Port to be Built by China, as India Eyes New Project
In a move that will surely upset China, Bangladesh has cancelled a port project with a Chinese company, but Dhaka is all set to offer a new sea port project to its bitter neighbor India.
China had an agreement with the Bangladesh government to develop a port in the Sonadia Island, for which Chinese government had even agreed to provide 99 percent of the required funding.
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However, despite the assurance of financial aid, Bangladesh has reportedly scrapped the Sonadia port project. Simultaneously, Bangladesh is in talks with India to construct a new port near Chittagong.
Bangladesh has not given any reasons for cancelling the Sonadia port project, nor has there been any official comments about reports of offering new sea project to India. But experts believe that cancellation of the Chinese project would not have been possible without India's intervention at the behest of the U.S. and Japan.
The three countries - U.S, China and India - are very critical of China's effort to increase its maritime presence in South Asia.
For India, the Sonadia port, Hambantota Port (in Sri Lanka) and Gwadar Port (in Pakistan) represents China's much talked about "string of pearls" strategy to encircle it in its maritime neighborhood.
The Sonadia port would have also brought China very close to India's Andaman and Nicobar Island, which would have surely made India very uncomfortable.
Cold War Between India and China
India and China, currently two of the fastest growing economies in the world, have traditionally been bitter neighbors. The two countries even went to war in 1962.
As their economies have grown at a stupendous pace over the last two decades, both countries have entered into a 'cold war' scenario as they compete for global influence.
China is already constructing an ambitious sea project in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. By constructing maritime projects in these two countries, China is seen to be keeping a tab on India.
In response, India has increased economic and military cooperation with all the bitter neighbors of China, namely 'Japan', 'South Korea' and 'Vietnam'.