Chinese investments in Bangladesh may defect Iran

The Chinese government has invested more than £2.3 million ($3 billion) into building the Padma – known as the Ganges in Bangladesh – as part of its wide plan to spend £23.1 billion ($30billion) in Bangladesh infrastructure, causing controversy over China’s investments with Iran.

The 6km bridge over the Padma river will link the north and south of Bangladesh by road and rail, marking one of Bangladesh’s most challenging infrastructural projects to date.

China’s investment comes after the World Bank pulled out £935.4 million ($1.2 billion) from the Padma bridge scheme.

They insisted they had found “credible evidence” of corruption amongst government officials and executive members from SNC-Lavalin, the Canadian constructor in charge of running the project

China has deeply rooted investments in South Asia, spanning from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives, as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans to build a new Silk Road of global trade routes.

The scale of Chinese investment also rings alarms for India, who consider itself Dhaka’s primary investor.

Amit Bhandari, a fellow at Mumbai-based Gateway House think-tank said: “The Padma bridge is a really big and a really important project.

“India should be concerned, given the role China is also playing in other countries which surround it.”

china iran us sanctions bangladesh oil

China has invested billions of dollars to Bangladesh, sparking fears in their relationship with Iran (Image: GETTY)

china iran us sanctions bangladesh padma bridge

The Chinese government has invested more than £2.3 million to build the Padma bridge in Bangladesh (Image: GETTY)

The Iranian rial has continued in a downward spiral, dropping significantly in recent months after the US decision to pull out of the nuclear deal in May and announcements of increased sanctions.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton told Fox News: “We have seen millions and millions of dollars of currency leaving Iran as the elites move their assets out of the country.”

China’s new billion dollar investment in Bangladesh rings alarm bells for Iran, who rely heavily on Beijing as their principal ally.

The Chinese government is set to defy Washington’s calls to stop imports of Iranian oil, potentially adding more friction to China’s and US’ trade relationship.

china iran us sanctions bangladesh oil

China and Iran have a long-standing relationship and have vowed to expand their economic partnership (Image: GETTY)

After the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Mr Trump has pressed world leaders to pull out of Iranian oil imports or face sanctions.

However, China, Iran’s top oil importer, has not shown any signs of complying to Mr Trump’s demands.

Iran and China have had a long-standing trade relationship, as the two countries aim to further expand economic cooperation.

China’s Foreign Ministry’s Lu Kang told reporters in June: “China and Iran are friendly countries to each other.

“We maintain normal exchanges and cooperation on the basis of conforming to our obligations under the international law, including in the fields of economy, trade and energy.

“This is beyond reproach.”

In June, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the pair pledged to expand their economic partnership.

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