China ups India, to give Dhaka whopping USD 24 billion

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an guard of honour after arriving in Dhaka. Pic/AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an guard of honour after arriving in Dhaka. Pic/AFP

Dhaka/Beijing: China assured to sign off on loans worth over $24 billion to Bangladesh during President Xi Jinping's visit yesterday, Dhaka's biggest foreign credit line to date that would help it to build power plants, a seaport and railways.

Xi's trip, the first by a Chinese president in 30 years, is aimed at boosting China's involvement in infrastructure projects at a time when India is pushing investments of its own in Bangladesh.

Japan, helped by India, has also got involved in Bangladesh, offering finance at low interest rates to build a port and power complex, sharpening competition for influence in the country of 160 million people located on the Bay of Bengal.

China plans to finance around 25 projects, including a 1,320 megawatt (MW) power plant, and is also keen to build a deep sea port, Bangladesh junior finance minister MA Mannan said.

"Xi's visit will set a new milestone. (A) record amount of loan agreements will be signed during the visit, roughly $24 billion," he said.

Among the proposed projects are highways and information technology development, he said. "Our infrastructure needs are big, so we need huge loans."

Xi is visiting Bangladesh on his way to a BRICS summit in Goa

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