NEW DELHI: Just when India-China ties suffered a replacement low following the recent clashes at Galway Valley in Ladakh, Beijing seems to be aggressively wooing Bangladesh, a robust ally of India within the neighborhood, with a number of sops.
The India-China stand-off at Ladakh has also coincided with Nepal redrawing its map to incorporate some Indian territories, presumably under a nudge from China.
While India is functioning to retaliate to the border violence by China, which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers, through various measures mainly to harm its economy, Beijing has reached bent Dhaka by offering to waive off 97% tariff on 5,161 items that Bangladesh trades with China.
Dhaka had asked for the waiver from China for being a “less developed country”, and Beijing responded favorably on June 16, ironically each day after the Ladakh clash.
“Tariff Commission of the state council of ministry of finance of the People’s Republic of China issued a notice dated on 16 June on granting zero treatment to 97% of tariff products of Bangladesh. this may inherit effect from 1st July,” Bangladesh ministry said during a statement. The new list adds to Dhaka’s existing advantage of tariff-free trade on 3,095 products with Beijing under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement.
The development, which could lead on to Bejing and Dhaka coming closer, can increase the discomfort of Delhi which sees Bangladesh as a robust ally — an equation built over a few years that kept China at a distance. Indo-Bangla ties, though, had taken a setback last year over India’s National Register Citizens (NRC) and therefore the Citizenship Amendment Act, both of which generated some unpleasantness in Dhaka.