Reviving the Silk Route with a network of roads and maritime connections – that is one of the plans announced by Chinese authorities. According to a well-known business leader and economist of Bangladesh, Abdul Awal Mintoo, the initiative to renovate the age old Silk Route will definitely strengthen the trade as well as the cultural relationships between the littorals of the Bay of Bengal and Asia along with various other continents.
The suggested route will also improve the political relationships between nations, reduce poverty and bring stability to the world, as stated by Abdul Awal Mintoo, the holder of several significant positions in a number of business establishments and the former president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said that the Kunming declaration was initiated in 1999 with a vision to improve the sub-regional cooperation patterns for Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and India which is now designated as the BCIM Economic Corridor. The BCIM-EC is a small section of the large economic region that would rise after the completion of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as predicted by Mr. Jinping, Chinese President.
Abdul Mintoo stated that the terrestrial and coastal silk route will connect all the development zones of the 21st Century mainly East and South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as the Middle East, Europe, Australasia and Africa. According to him, this step would not only promote the global trade and tourism, but also will speed up the globalization. The Kunming declaration is responsible for the resurrection of the historical connections between countries in the regions that were drastically altered by the colonial invasion by the European coastal powers and it will bring the nations closer to each other socially, politically as well as economically, as stated by Abdul.
Mintoo said that apart from being the largest trading partner of India, Bangladesh and several other South Asian nations, China is almost the only development partner of Myanmar, which is witnessing rapid expansion in the trade links with the ASEAN countries, Japan, United States and Europe. He stated that presently China is the second largest economy of the world and has been spreading its industrial base now including hinterlands such as Chongqing and Chengdu. China has also been exporting materials to Kazakhstan and Europe via rail.
According to him, the Bangladeshi government needs to begin the establishments of deep sea ports, specially the Sonadia deep-sea port as well as the constructions of the roads and railway to Northeast India through Sobrum in Tippera in order to connect with the coastal Silk Road to generate profits. It should also not postpone the establishment of the BCIM-EC multiple road outlets fulfilling the previously made commitments.
He said that Bangladesh must pursue the direct connectivity of the seaport city Chittagong via roadways and railways to Kunming through Myanmar.