Strategic observation

Belt and Road Initiative provides opportunity for whole world -- experts

2017-05-14 22:48:19 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China provides opportunities for the whole world to promote peace and prosperity, experts in Bangladesh said Sunday.

The initiative will surely bolster cooperation and stability, and help Asia become the world's new economic center of gravity, the experts said.

While protectionism keeps rising in some countries, China has proposed the Road and Belt Initiative which emphasizes open trade, Muhammad Mahmood, former head of the School of Economics and Finance of Victoria University, told Xinhua.

The Belt of Road Initiative will greatly contribute to open trade, key to economic prosperity, which will stimulate growth and peace, and which will lead to a win-win situation for all, Mahmood said.

The initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes over land and sea.

The Belt and Road should be built into a belt and road for peace, as the pursuit of the initiative requires a peaceful and stable environment, Xi said as he addressed the opening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday in Beijing.

"We should foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation; and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance," Xi said.

"President Xi also expressed his willingness to work with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank and the World Bank to support Belt and Road related projects. Countries like Bangladesh will immensely benefit from joining in the initiative," he added.

Bangladeshi experts, who highly lauded China's contribution to socioeconomic development of the world, said the initiative of reviving the ancient Silk Road through a network of roads and maritime waterways will surely be a boon for cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

President Xi said in his speech at the opening of the forum that China will contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion U.S. dollars) to the Silk Road Fund.

Mahbubur Rashid, a senior journalist of The Financial Express, Bangladesh's well-known English financial daily newspaper, said the Belt and Road Initiative will help the developing countries.

He said China's peaceful development is a blessing and opportunity for countries which face extreme difficulties given the rising protectionism in some countries.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is a ray of hope for the countries like Bangladesh which are in dire need of fund to develop mega infrastructures to maintain economic growth," he added.

Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to the Bangladesh prime minister on international affairs, said recently that China has been immensely supporting Bangladesh in its economic development.

Participation in the initiative enables Bangladesh to expedite its connectivity vision in order to realize its sub-regional development aspirations, Gowher said.

Rehman Sobhan, chairman of Bangladesh's leading think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue, said he is witnessing reconcentration of economic and financial power in Asia.

"This means the whole concept of the initiative, of constructive infrastructure, is not some sort of imaginative concept. It is really grounded in certain objectives such as economic and financial realities," Rehman said.

"Huge resources are readily available with China and beyond. Asia is now poised to create a more integrated global order, the center of which is in Asia," he added.

According to the experts, countries on the Belt and Road, especially those with underdeveloped infrastructure, low investment rates and per-capita income, could experience a boost in trade flow and benefit from infrastructure development.