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China's economic clout chills Bangladesh-India relations
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China's economic clout chills Bangladesh-India relations

DHAKA -- India has intensified diplomatic efforts in recent weeks to shore up its once solid alliance with Bangladesh, but frostier than normal relati

International

DHAKA -- India has intensified diplomatic efforts in recent weeks to shore up its once solid alliance with Bangladesh, but frostier than normal relations between the two South Asian nations may have opened a crack in the door to China.

Riva Ganguly Das, India's high commissioner in Dhaka, has been winding up her posting but has been able to meet with only three ministers. Her attempts over four months to pay a farewell call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed have so far been fruitless.

In April, China's Beijing Construction Group beat out Indian competition to secure a $250 million contract for an airport terminal in the northeastern city of Sylhet close to Bangladesh's sensitive border with India. The deal reportedly set off alarm bells in New Delhi.

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In June Bangladesh got a major lift in relations when China opened its market to 97% of Bangladesh's products -- some 8,000 items in all.

Dhaka described the windfall as "economic diplomacy," but China's growing economic leverage has cast a shadow over its much older relationship with India.

Tags: Bangladesh, India, DHAKA, China, Ganguly, Riva, diplomatic, economic, diplomacy, Minister, relations