China's presence in South Asia has been a major challenge to India's neighbourhood policy as it has raised certain strategic concerns. China, with its vast economic resources has not only invested in the region but has completed mega projects in time. However, in the recent past some of the countries are facing economic distress as debt has mounted. Among the countries of South Asia, Bangladesh has successfully engaged both India and China and has benefitted from their investments in infrastructure, energy and trade. Unlike other countries, it has critically balanced its relations with both rather than playing one country against the other in a zero sum game. This reflects in the careful choosing of projects that have contributed to Bangladesh's growth trajectory and economic development. China, a country that had vetoed Bangladesh's entry to the UN as an independent state, is now its largest trading partner. This seminar will focus on the evolving dynamics of Bangladesh's relations with China and examine its regional implications.
This seminar is part of ICS’ China in South Asia Series.
About the Speakers
Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty is Visiting Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi and Founder Director of DeepStrat. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977. He served as the High Commissioner to Bangladesh from 2007-09, and Ambassador to Thailand between 2009 and 2011. As High Commissioner to Bangladesh, he was instrumental in promoting the Electricity Grid Connectivity agreement. He also drafted the initial concept proposal for the Land Boundary Agreement which solved the un-demarcated border, Enclaves and Adverse possessions. Chakravarty is regular contributor to newspapers and publications on international issues and India’s foreign policy. He has published over 150 articles, book chapters and several book reviews. He lectures on foreign policy at various institutions in India and abroad.
Smruti S Pattanaik is a Research Fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. She holds PhD in South Asian Studies from the School of International Studies, JNU and specializes on India’s Neighbourhood Policy and politics in South Asia. In recent years she has also been visiting fellow at PRIO in 2011 and visiting professor on ICCR’s India Chair in Colombo University in 2013. She is the author of Elite Perception in Foreign Policy: Role of Print Media in influencing Indo-Pak relations, 1989-99 (2004) and has edited two books, South Asia: Envisioning a Regional Future (2011), India-Bangladesh Relations: Historical Imperative and Future Direction (2012) and a monograph.
M. Humayun Kabir is the President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), Dhaka. Kabir was a career diplomat for 30 years; he retired from government service as Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh in September 2010. His last foreign assignment was in Washington, DC as Ambassador of Bangladesh. Kabir also served as Bangladesh Ambassador to Nepal and High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand. His current research interest areas include accountability in governance, public policy, including foreign policy, South Asian affairs, energy, skills and professional development and migration, among others.
About the Chair
Alka Acharya is a professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies (Chinese Studies), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). She was the Director and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies. She was nominated by the Indian government as a member of the India-China Eminent Persons Group (2006-2008) and member of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India for two terms (2006-2008) and (2011-2012). She has authored a book China & India: Politics of Incremental Engagement, published in 2008. Her current research focuses on India-China-Russia Trilateral Cooperation and the Chinese strategic response to the post-cold war regional architecture, with special reference to China’s neighborhood.
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