DHAKA    -    Bangladesh and China have launched a new platform, the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum, in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, focusing on lasting links under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) between the two countries for mutual benefit. The event was attended by political leadership, high-ranking officials from the private and public sector, community representatives and the members of the business sector and media.

Bangladesh prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi and Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Zhang Zuo among others, spoke at the launching ceremony. “I want truly to felicitate the launch of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum,” said Rizvi. “Congratulate and thank you for initiative to establish the forum.” “The BRI is not only one of the important initiatives of our time but it is also very needful in fixing our (Bangladesh development) priorities,” he said. According to the advisor, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the last 10 years has been emphasizing the importance of connectivity.

She sees connectivity as mechanisms or tools through which Bangladesh’s prosperity and stability can be rebuilt, he added. “Not merely the BRI, also we have already joined BCIM EC (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor). We have no reservation. We absolutely welcome this initiative and congratulate.” Proposed by China in 2013, the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative aims to build a trade and infrastructure network that will link Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road. Ambassador Zhang said, “Our all-round cooperation is booming in all sectors like politics, economy, military, agriculture, law enforcement, science and technology and culture.”

He said the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum is being established at the right moment when there’s a lot to be achieved.

Bangladeshi people’s dream of a strong and wealthy nation, manifested in the dream of Sonar (golden) Bangla, and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation pursued by the Chinese people, are interconnected and share many common merits, said the diplomat.

“I hope the Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum could pay attention to telling good stories about China-Bangladesh friendship, passing on the voices in the communication and exchanges between our two countries, and building this forum into an important bridge for China-Bangladesh connectivity.”

He further said, “Particularly, 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, so as to bring more benefits to both our peoples, and push the China-Bangladesh relations into a better new era. “

Chairman of the forum Dilip Barua, general secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, an ally of Hasina’s ruling Grand Alliance, said friendship and cooperation with China are growing rapidly in recent times.

Barua said there is sustained need for promoting the concept of the BRI among various segments of the people in Bangladesh. “We have already planned to set up a platform in Bangladesh on this issue.”

Vice Chairman of the forum Hasanul Haq Inu, also president of the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, an ally of Hasina’s ruling Grand Alliance, said BRI is very important for grand connectivity.

The BRI will be a bridge between developing regional forums and it will help remove infrastructural and institutional barriers to bolster exports and minimize import costs, said the former Bangladeshi information minister.