China will partly finance a $4.47-billion rail project in Bangladesh that will connect the capital city of Dhaka to the southwestern parts of the country. Bangladesh's National Economic Council on Tuesday approved the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project, which will be developed by China Railway Group Ltd.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting in Dhaka on Tuesday, according to the Dhaka Tribune. The Padma Bridge Rail Link Project will see the construction of a 215-km railway line, which Bangladesh Railway reportedly said would be ready by 2022.
The Chinese government will provide 247.49 billion taka as a loan for the rail project, while the rest will be provided by the Bangladeshi government, according to Xinhua.
The rail project in Bangladesh comes as the latest infrastructure investment by China in south Asian countries, which essentially fall under India's sphere of influence. Reports last month had suggested China might build a sea port in southern Maldives at the Gaadhoo island in the southern atoll. China is already funding the expansion of the international airport in Maldives.
Sri Lanka had given the green signal in March for a $1.4-billion China-backed project to build a port city in Colombo, said to be biggest-ever single foreign investment received by the South Asian nation.
Sri Lanka had last month also offered equity to Chinese firms in infrastructure projects in the island nation in return for waiving some of the billions of dollars of debt it owes Beijing.
Bangladesh, during the visit of Bangladeshi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam to Beijing last month, had also reportedly sought more funds from China for development projects, according to BDNews24hours.com. Dhaka and Beijing also signed an agreement last month to build the eighth Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge, for which China will provide a fund of $50 million.