Dialogue for BCIM corridor to resume soon

Prothom Alo English | Update:

The stalled dialogue for the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Economic Corridor is set to resume as officials and scholars from the four countries meeting in Kolkata next week, reports Hindustan Times.

The consultation process among the neighbouring nations that was stalled more than two-and-half years will hopefully resume, the Hindustan Times report added.

It said the last meeting of the Joint Study Group (JSG), which has government sanction, was held at Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh in December 2014.

Officials from the external affairs ministry and scholars and academics from India will take part in the meeting to be held during 25-26 April, it also said.

The idea of creating a corridor of regional integrity was first floated in 1999 but there has been little progress in implementing the grand plan.

Though it predates President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by several years, the Chinese government made BCIM part of the BRI, further increasing India’s unease.

“BCIM-EC predates BRI and it should be pursued as an autonomous initiative rather than as a subset of BRI. All four BCIM-EC partners should continue to have co-ownership of this project, which should not be subsumed under another construct,” a former Indian diplomat was quoted to have said.

“At this particular point of time, we need to re-emphasise that BCIM-EC is a cooperation platform for economic development and prosperity of the region and does not involve some of the sensitive issues that exist between China and India,” Guo Suiyuan, associate professor at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, told Hindustan Times.

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