Updated: Jan 7
Mohd Aminul Karim, Professor of Bangladesh Business School
Professor Mohd Aminul Karim is currently working at the Independent University of Bangladesh Business School. His research interests focus on international relations, strategic management and geopolitics. His recent research including the use of renewable energy to promote the sustainable development of Bangladesh and overcome the electricity crisis ", "asean five countries the main stock market and the Japan's stock market volatility spillover", "China's military expenditure and economic development: the empirical research, as well as the meng (BCIM) in myanmar and China and India economic corridor: challenges and prospects", etc.
Bangladesh and China should actively negotiate to achieve common development
1.In your work, you suggest that a new security relationship between China and the West has begun since the end of the Cold War ,Could you elaborate on this security relationship?
China is coming strong both economically and strategically especially after the Cold War when the Soviet Union collapsed.
America suffered a recession during 2007-8. China had already gone for an open market economy--much before that-- during the end of the 70's and tried to integrate with the capitalist economic system. That said, almost intractable strategic issues came up between China and the US. Those are generally the South China and East China Seas, border issues with India, North Koren issue and Taiwan etc. So real politics started playing here with the best possible spears and shields coming from both sides. China has gone for huge military modernization ---one may call it ' Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)'. China is still trying to catch up with the US in technology, cyber and space warfare. American economy is dwindling but its military remains supreme and most sophisticated. Both the powers are eyeball-to-eyeball in the South China Sea. Taiwan and the two seas are core issues for both the powers. Both sides are highly unlikely to compromise on the present status or the status-to-be on these core values. However, a state of belligerence and engagement--a kind of ambiguity-- is likely to continue in the near future.
2.As a realist scholar,you also acknowledge the importance of soft power in the management of anarchy in the world today.Do you think soft power has played a role in Bangladesh's strong economic growth in recent years as a young country among the great powers?
Bangladesh's soft power is not that attractive, although it is making good progress in the economic field. Quality of life of people in general has improved considerably. Both China and Japan are investing massively in infrastructure development in Bangladesh. But its democracy is faltering. Human rights record, as assessed by western world, is rather depressing. It has earned a bad name for its widespread and endemic corruption. Country suffers from an image crisis. That said,people of Bangladesh, overall, are resilient, hardworking and creative so it is making good progress economically at private levels. There are capable entrepreneurs at the privave level. Moreso. huge remittance earnings from overseas workers are keeping the economy vibrant.
3.China is now the largest source of investment and the largest trading partner of Bangladesh,and cooperation with Bangladesh is also of great importance to China.Do you have any expectations for future economic cooperation between China and Bangladesh?
Bangladesh has no recourse but to depend heavily on China for the economic development of Bangladesh. India is another source but India does not have enough disposable money to support Bangladesh. Both are important neighbors of Bangladesh. China is a tested friend of Bangladesh. For trade and investment, both China and Bangladesh have to cooperate with each other for a win-win outcome.
4.Do you think there is a general trend in strengthening regiona linstitutional cooperation?What do you think should be done to strengthen regional cooperation and non-traditional security?
There is a huge demand for regional cooperation both in South Asia and Asia in general. Bangladesh is already a member of the BRI and Bangladesh is benefiting much from its contributions. That said, China should be careful about debt-trap diplomacy. The SAARC could not deliver much due to belligerent relations between India and Pakistan. The BCIM has almost failed due to non-cooperation from India. On matters of regional institutional cooperation Bangladesh needs to play a finer and balanced diplomacy. For non-traditional security, Bangladesh needs to work in close coordination with neighboring countries including China. These include the piracy, pollution issues in the Bay of Bengal and counter insurgency in general. China needs to play an assertive role to convince the Myanmar authorities to take back the Rohingya refugees--1.1 million of them-- loitering in the crammed camps inside Bangladesh as this issue carries the potential of non-traditional security threats that may engulf the entire region.
Editor Assistant Research Fellow: Xianglin Gu