Beijing, October 04:

China wants to align its strategies with Bangladesh and jointly promote the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Dhaka, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Sunday.

Xi said China is keen to take the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership to new heights.

The Chinese president “stands ready to work with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Abdul Hamid, to better align the two countries’ strategies and jointly promote the construction of the Belt and Road, so as to take the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to new heights,” official news agency, Xinhua quoted the Chinese President as saying on Sunday.

Xi made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with Hamid to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

China has emerged as Bangladesh’s largest development partner in recent years and has pumped in funds for several infrastructure projects, a growth in ties that would be closely monitored by India.

Dhaka-based The Financial Express reported in June that Bangladesh had asked for Chinese funds for nine new projects worth US$ 6.4 billion, including for a new port and a bridge.

During Xi’s Dhaka visit in 2016, the two countries had signed MoUs for implementing several infrastructure projects worth over $25bn, the newspaper reported.

According to The Diplomat, Chinese investment plans announced in October 2016 included 27 MoUs, valued at $24bn while Chinese and Bangladeshi companies separately entered 13 joint ventures valued at $13.6bn.

In his message, Xi said the China-Bangladesh friendship has a long history and remains ever new over time.

“Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 45 years ago, the two countries have always respected each other and treated each other as equals, enhanced political mutual trust and deepened mutually beneficial cooperation that brings tangible benefits to the two peoples,” Xi noted.

The Chinese leader added that China and Bangladesh have stuck together during the Covid-19 pandemic “through thick and thin, helped each other and fought against the pandemic side by side, writing a new chapter of bilateral friendship”.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang separately exchanged congratulatory messages with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

China, Li said, is willing to deepen practical cooperation with Bangladesh in various fields and promote the steady and sustainable development of the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation to better benefit the two countries and their people.

President Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier send their greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

According to media reports from Dhaka, in her message to the Chinese leaders, Hasina appreciated China as one of the most valued partners of Bangladesh for its socio-economic development and the continued Chinese aid and support to Bangladesh during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.