The local media has been abuzz with reports of economic and political instability in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal for weeks. Many are worried about whether Bangladesh will follow that path.
Conspiracy theories are usually made out of public panic. Surprisingly, I can see that some synophobes have started talking about the so-called ‘Chinese debt trap’ again.
According to the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discussed the “potential impact of dependence on a particular country for financing development projects” during the US-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue last month.
Many local media outlets interpreted this as saying that the US side had “re-advised Bangladesh to move away from China and assured support for the Indo-Pacific strategy”. This echoes the statement made by Indian Foreign Minister Jaya shankar during the Munich Security Conference in February. He advised Bangladesh to move away from China and get closer to the quad.
Chinese Debt Trap Now is the Right Time to Abandon Hypocrisy: Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh
As a civilization rich in humility and inclusion, China welcomes all kinds of criticism from the international community – as long as they are irrefutable and reasonable. Before accepting the “debt trap” imposed on China by the “world police” and its “subordinates”, it is important to know whether the allegations pass a test of authenticity.
Statistics refute China’s debt trap: According to the latest quarterly loan bulletin published by the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh, the country’s debt as of June 2021 was 36 percent of GDP. 36 percent of the total loan is taken from abroad. Only 8 percent of foreign debt is borrowed from China, accounting for 2.57 percent of total debt and 0.97 percent of GDP. Clearly, this information suggests that Bangladesh’s borrowings from China are far from falling into a “debt trap.”