Chinese envoy warns Bangladesh against joining Quad

Wednesday 19th May 2021 07:33 EDT

Dhaka: Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming, warned that Bangladesh should not join the ‘Quad’ group. The diplomat said that Bangladesh’s relations with China will “substantially be damaged” if it joins the inter-governmental security forum.

According to a report in Bangladesh’s The Daily Star newspaper, Li claimed that the Quad is “a military alliance aimed against China's resurgence and its relationship with neighbouring countries”. Li further called the Quad – the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – a “narrow-purposed” geopolitical clique.

Quad is an informal strategic alliance comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Officially, the group was conceived as a space to cooperate for safeguarding joint security and other interests in the Indo-Pacific region. However, the arrangement is now seen as a counter to China’s military and economic rise. Thus, China considers the Quad as an attempt to contain its ambitions and looks at the group as a possible “Asian NATO” of the future.

While the forum has been in the works for over a decade in various forms, the initiative has picked up momentum in recent years. On March 12, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United States President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga met virtually in what was the first Quad leaders’ summit.

The summit came at a time when Chinese-Australian relations had plummeted to new depths after Australia called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, and amid the major military stand-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

In recent years, Bangladesh’s relations with China have been on the upward trajectory. According to Beijing, the relations between Bangladesh and China are termed “strategic partnership of cooperation”. On May 10, it was announced that Bangladesh would receive a major consignment of China-made vaccine doses. For years, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has been using the Chengdu F-7, a Chinese fighter aircraft. It is a license-built version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. The Bangladeshi army and navy use a number of Chinese munitions, including the Type 69 battle tanks and a patrol ship, and small arms.

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