Published:  12:00 AM, 10 February 2016

Bangladesh scraps China proposed deep seaport

Bangladesh scraps China proposed deep seaport

Bangladesh after series of policy level parleys within the government has decided to cancel the proposal for construction of a deep seaport offered by China. Receiving feedback from policy planners, the Chinese offer for the offshore port has finally said 'no thanks' to Beijing, a highly placed source confirmed.Delhi welcomes the decision of Dhaka to scuttle Chinese proposal for construction of deep seaport in Sonadia island.
India fears that the Sonadia sea port was China's plan to come too close proximity to India by increasing its presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean. The cancellation of Sonadia is clearly a strategic decision by Bangladesh, doubtlessly helped jointly by Japan, the United States and India, an official said. Bangladesh was under pressure by Japan, the US and of course India was also no exception to negate the seaport proposal by China for strategic reasons. With the Asian allies keen on improving the strategic bilateral ties, Dhaka has quietly killed the Sonadia project in Cox's Bazar, which was supposed to be developed by China, an official privy to the decision confided. China's increasing presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean has caused diplomatic annoyance, as well as fear of hegemony on the maritime shipping routes. China has begun construction of Hambantota port, in the southern province of Sri Lanka and another at Gwadar port in Balochistan, Pakistan, which India interprets as a part of China's much talked about "string of pearls" strategy to encircle India. Primarily Japan, the US and India's fear of regional hegemony is over security for shipment of crude oil from the Gulf countries. Meanwhile, Japan has agreed to develop a deep sea port at Matarbari,  Maheskhali isle in Cox's Bazar. India has also expressed its keenness in developing Bangladesh's third seaport at Payra in Patuakhali.The Payra seaport, operational from December on a limited scale and the government plans to gradually turn it into a deep seaport. The move by India is significant as it is bound to take the bilateral ties between the two South Asian neighbors to a new height, an official opined.

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