April 28, 2009

Chittagong China Rail Link

The government of Bangladesh is actively seeking China's help in developing a rail link through Burma (Myanmar) at the same time provincial level mandarins in Yunnan Province are seeking a link between Kunming and the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong.

The rail link would close a gap in the long sought after UNESCAP "Trans-Asian Railway" project and cross one of the most remote and undeveloped regions of the world.

Chittagong is Bangladesh's chief seaport and main center for industrial development being the location of the country's only steel plant and oil refinery. Chittagong is well poised for container handling development and has deep water channel and large frontage for container ships. Chinese companies have been active in developing the port facilities at Chittagong for several years. Chittagong is identified by war strategists as one of China's "String of Pearls" - potential navy bases and connected ports to loosen the grip on Chinese trade flows through the Straits of Malacca...

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This link with Chittagong would also help in restoring the balance of power in the sub-continent and would be a welcome input in regional trade expanding to China. For Bangladesh, a more intense engagement with China is not only desireable in terms of foreign policy priorities, but is imperative in economic terms. For China, this link would open up new frontiers that would enhance its global outreach in both foreign policy and economic terms.

You sniff for Chinese developments in SE. Interesting indeed!

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