Dhaka, Beijing discuss nuclear, military cooperation

April 26th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, April 26 (IANS) Keen to set up a nuclear power reactor by 2015, Bangladesh has proposed to China that an arrangement akin to what the latter has with Pakistan should be evolved to push the sole project conceived way back in 1961. The proposal was discussed during the two-day visit here of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jichie that concluded Friday, when Beijing expressed its readiness to aid Dhaka’s quest for nuclear power, media reports said Saturday.

China’s “keen interest” in the development of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant was announced by Foreign Affairs Advisor Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury after seeing off the Chinese guest.

Several countries and agencies have shown interest, and some like Canada and the erstwhile Soviet Union, have submitted project reports since the project was mooted in 1961. Some including the US backed out. India had also shown interest after the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971.

Last December, Bangladesh formally approached the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Its plan to install its first nuclear power plant by 2015 to meet the country’s increasing electricity demand was “received positively” by the IAEA, the then Energy Advisor Tapan Chowdhury announced Dec 6.

Bangladesh is planning to set up a nuclear power plant with a generation capacity between 700 MW and 1,000 MW at Rooppur in Pabna district, 125 km northwest of capital Dhaka.

Dhaka proposed the China-Pakistan model during Yang’s visit, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency said.

China has heavily aided Pakistan’s nuclear power reactor at Chashma as part of its strategic ties that cover the entire range of military and security relations as well.

On the completion of a two-day visit, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang left for Pakistan.

China is a major military hardware supplier to Bangladesh and military cooperation came up for discussion during Yang’s visit, New Age newspaper said.

Yang offered a 60 million yuan grant for this year, Iftekhar Chowdhury told media.

“Our friendship is rooted in history. But like all relationships, friendship between nations is also to be renewed and reinvigorated from time to time, and this visit was an occasion to do just that,” the foreign adviser stated.

He said he had reiterated Bangladesh’s stand on “one China policy” and that Tibet was China’s internal issue.

Also reviewed were Bangladesh’s “warm ties” with India, Pakistan and other South Asian nations, besides Dhaka’s growing ties with Myanmar, The Daily Star said.

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