It is a well-known fact that China fears the Quad alliance. The Xi Jinping led Chinese Communist Party is making every effort to ensure that Quad is not strengthened further, but the global equations are such that most of the countries around the world are willing to become a part of the alliance. Take, for instance, Bangladesh, the neighbour and a close ally of India, which is also very keen to join the anti-China alliance.
As per a report by the Times of India, Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming was quoted by local media as saying that bilateral ties between both the nations would be “substantially damaged” if Bangladesh engaged with the four-country grouping (Quad). “We do not want any form of participation of Bangladesh in this alliance,” Li is reported to have said while addressing the local media.
However, this wolf-warrior diplomacy of the Chinese ambassador has not gone well with the Sheikh Hasina led Bangladesh government, and the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister has given a tough response to China.
“We’re an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy. But yes, any country can uphold its position,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters on Tuesday.
“Naturally, he (Chinese ambassador) represents a country. They can say what they want. Maybe they don’t want it (Bangladesh joining the Quad),” Momen said, adding that no one from the Quad has approached Bangladesh yet.
China is scared of the Quad alliance and is making every effort to ensure that other countries do join what it sees as an anti-China grouping. “Quad says it is only for economic purposes and security and so on. But that’s not true. We know that Quad is aimed at China,” said Ambassador Li Jiming.
In the last few years, China made many attempts to co-opt the neighbouring countries of India – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal. These countries showed small infatuation with Xi Jinping led China but slowly slipped away, thanks to the strong diplomacy of the Modi government. China also tried to punish Bhutan for standing resolutely with India with the Doklam incident, but the Indian Armed Forces took care of its misadventure.
So, China’s attempt to co-opt the neighbouring countries of India failed every country after a small-time success with the billions of dollars that it spent, and today all these countries stand with India.
A few weeks ago, Bangladesh gave a very clear message to China and Pakistan that India is its most important ally. Speaking at a virtual seminar hosted by London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Bangladesh’s Gowher Rizvi, international affairs advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that Dhaka was more interested in joining the “Indo-Pacific relationship”, despite being part of Beijing’s ambitious neo-colonial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“India is our most important partner and you cannot conceive of anything different. It would be suicidal to think differently,” said Gowher.
The billions of dollars that China spent in countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives went in vain as every country in the world today is aware of China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. Countries might have transactional relation with China because it has made itself an indispensable part of the global supply chain, but no country wants any sort of alliance or strategic partnership with Communist Party-led China.
If Bangladesh joins Quad in the coming years, that would be a big humiliation and defeat for the Chinese Communist Party. Given the spread of coronavirus that destroyed many countries, families, and economies, anti-China sentiments have widely grown around the world and countries like Bangladesh are now keen to join the Quad.