India

Army Chief Bipin Rawat cautions against China's aid, says 'nothing is free'

Chief of Indian Army General Bipin Rawat on Sunday cautioned the countries taking financial aid from China with an ominous warning that they will come to know that 'nothing comes free'. He was responding to recent developments wherein India's neighbours have been developing close relations with China. He added that countries like Nepal and Bhutan "have to be inclined towards India because of geography."

Rawat was speaking at the sidelines of the concluding ceremony of the week-long Bay of Bengal initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) 'Military Exercise 18' held at Aundh Military Station on Sunday. Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre was also in attendance at the event.

"There is caution in the minds of those who have taken money from them (China) that nothing comes for free," he said.

Rawat, however, stated that China is the main economic competitor for India and both countries are competing for the South Asia dominance. "Geography favours inclination towards India and as far as alliance (with China) is concerned, it is a temporary thing," he said, adding, "The best example of this is the relation between America and Pakistan. It is not the same as what it used to be 70 years ago."

Before Rawat, Bhamre also interacted with media, but when he was asked about Nepal skipping a military exercise, he noted, "The recent BIMSTEC summit was held in Kathmandu only. Nepal has actively participated in all the previous BIMSTEC summits in the past. This was a military exercise but this was the time when there was a change in command there. They still sent observers for the exercise which suggests that there was a participation from Nepal in the exercise."

This year, only five of the seven members countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan, participated in the exercise. The aim of the exercise was to increase cooperation between member countries to fight against terrorism.

—with agency inputs

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