While China and Bangladesh have agreed to advance cooperation on its pet Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in order to reach its full potential in the region, it will need support from New Delhi, according to Beijing.
Bangladesh's geographical location is attractive to investors and it also holds an important geopolitical position along the BRI, making it a springboard to Indian markets. Last week, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, visited Beijing, reaffirming the country's intent to push forward the BRI and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor.
China would like a closer relationship but it also 'taking a lead' in the economic corridor by extending a 31 billion dollar funding package for infrastructure development in Bangladesh.
China's promotion is not meant to dilute New Delhi's influence on Bangladesh, it has made clear. China will never pursue leadership in the region, on the contrary, hopes India can play a more important role in developing the economic corridor.
Those who underestimate the importance of India might think China's growing presence in South Asia allows Beijing to ignore New Delhi, but in this globalized time, no bilateral relationship is exclusive. China values its relationship with India while the nation develops ties with Bangladesh. India has wide clout in South Asia. The development of the BRI needs New Delhi's support if the initiative is to run smoothly in South Asia.