General Bipin Rawat says Nepal, Bhutan can’t delink from India due to geography, cautions countries against China's aid

Army chief General Bipin Rawat, while addressing the media on Sunday, said that countries like Nepal and Bhutan cannot delink themselves from India as they are more inclined towards India “because of the geography”. He also cautioned the countries taking aid from China stating that these ties are "temporary". He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of the Bay of Bengal initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation- Field Training Military Exercise, also known as BIMSTEC-MILEX 18.

 General Bipin Rawat says Nepal, Bhutan can’t delink from India due to geography, cautions countries against Chinas aid

File image of army chief Bipin Rawat. PTI

While replying to a question regarding Nepal's growing proximity with China, Rawat said, “They cannot delink themselves from India. Countries like Nepal and Bhutan have to be naturally inclined to India because of the geography. Geography favours their inclination towards India and not towards China.”

Rawat also cautioned Nepal about China, stating that these ties are temporary, warning them that nothing comes for free, reported The Times of India. "Any country looking for its economic growth is bound to explore bilateral or multilateral ways of cooperation. China has got money and they are splurging it. But the countries taking such aid will soon realise that nothing comes for free. All these ties are temporary and are bound to change as per the change in the global socio-economic scenario," said Rawat.

To clarify, Rawat gave the example of US-Pakistan relations, “The best example of this is the US-Pakistan relations as it has not remained the same what it used to be 70 years ago. As such, we don’t need to worry about these temporary alliances. We need to make our country economically strong,” he said.

He added that everyone looks for economic gains. “China is an emerging competitor. Everything is about economics. They are also looking for market and we are also looking for the same market and there is competition. So, whoever performs better will win the race,” he said.

Replying to a query on whether the issue of illegal immigration would be added to the BIMSTEC discussion in future, the general said it was not a new phenomenon.

"Migration always happens from an economically weaker nation to a stronger nation. Therefore, equal growth is important. This phenomenon is not going to end unless there is equitable and good distribution of growth," said Rawat.

Earlier, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, while addressing the press at the military function, said that Nepal had participated by way of sending observers. "In all the previous summits they (Nepal) have participated. This time it was a military exercise and this is the same period when their command changed (new general taking over as CoAS of the Nepal Army)," Bhamre said. "They (Nepal) have sent their observers so there was participation from them. We need not look at any other angle," the minister said.

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

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2018 09:33:49 IST