Why Bangladesh has been ignoring India’s warnings about the Chinese ‘debt trap’

19th Jul, 2021

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File photo of Bangladesh's first-ever metro rail train on its performance test run in Dhaka's Uttara on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune


The debt trap diplomacy theory was created in 2017 by Brahma Chellaney, a strategist at the Centre for Policy Research to describe the risks he associated with China’s Belt and Road Initiative or BRI. Many in South Asia view major foreign powers (like China) and changes in status quo (like new economic relationships) with caution. A history of colonialism and non-alignment are shared experiences across the region. These experiences contribute to a principled worldview, which does not readily accept terms defined by realpolitik, and prefers to redefine issues based on precedent. However, smaller countries in the region – like Bangladesh – have shown greater willingness to adapt to new trade and investment flows. India, meanwhile, has become more cautious.

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