Chinese President to visit Bangladesh ahead of BRICS summit, does India fear?

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping (R) before the G20 leaders' family photo in Hangzhou on September 4, 2016. Photograph:( AFP )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 13, 2016, 10.17 PM (IST)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Bangladesh on Friday where he’ll meet President Abdul Hamid and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

It will be the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Bangladesh in 30 years since President Li Xiannian’s visit in March 1986, South China Morning Post reported.

Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs, Kong Xuanyou , said at a press meet in Beijing that the trip will be a “milestone” in bilateral relations, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Xi is expected to sign cooperative agreements to implement the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ proposed by China, Kong said.

Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) development issues will also  be signed during the visit.

But ahead of the visit, a report in the Global Times suggests that some in India see Xi’s visit as a "trip to snatch the South Asian country from the embrace of New Delhi".

The article titled “India has nothing to fear from closer relationship between China and Bangladesh” suggests that there are misconceptions in India that China feels the need to build closer ties with Bangladesh and that China will feel unhappy if Bangladesh builds close ties with India.

The report says such views are “too simplistic and some Indians may “mistakenly flatter themselves when they think China's Belt and Road initiative is aimed at balancing India's influence.”

According to the report, the initiative will connect close to 4 billion people in 65 countries and “it is not about marking Beijing's strategic circle on the subcontinent of South Asia, but instead represents an open-ended initiative that welcomes the participation of numerous other countries.”

The talks are likely to help consolidate bilateral ties and boost economic cooperation between the two countries, Global Times reported.

The article stresses that Bangladesh's geographic location makes it an “irreplaceable link connecting India and China” . Efforts to boost Bangladesh’s economy and improvement in the infrastructure can bring “momentum for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. “ it says.

The article, however, adds that a close relationship between Bangladesh and China putting some pressure on New Delhi to rethink its strategy in the South Asian region and encouraging it to put a greater effort in improving ties with China is not a “bad thing”.

Xi will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit in India’s Goa later this week.