China’s warning to Bangladesh is, therefore, drawn staunchly on concerns over how such a development could hinder its South Asia policy and prove an advantage for India (including Japan) in their strategic competition. Not only could Dhaka be an important partner under mechanisms like the India-Japan-Australia-led Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, but also become a strategic partner to balance China, setting an example for other South Asian powers. Beijing is, therefore, wary that as the Quad becomes stronger, it will initiate dialogues with “plus” members and create a “Bangladesh plus Quad” in South Asia that severely undermines China’s rising influence.
Dr. Jagannath Panda is a Research Fellow and the Centre Coordinator for East Asia at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Dr. Panda is also the Series Editor for “Routledge Studies on Think Asia.”