- ‘India’s goodwill comes with no strings attached’
- ‘Nepal is free to act independently in international affairs’
- ‘Nepal must be vigilant and learn from Sri Lanka and other nations which have also signed agreements with other countries in the region’
New Delhi: India’s goodwill comes with no strings attached, said CDS Bipin Rawat and warned Nepal to be wary of China.
Speaking at an event, CDS Rawat said that Nepal is free to act independently in international affairs but must be vigilant and learn from Sri Lanka and other nations which have also signed agreements with other countries in the region.
This statement from the CDS comes after three back-to-back high-level visits from New Delhi to Kathmandu in the last two months.
Nepal must be vigilant, learn from Sri Lanka: CDS
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Samant Kumar Goel had visited the Himalayan nation in the last two months.
From Nepal, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali is set to embark on a trip to India this month.
The great game between the dragon and the elephant for strategic influence in the Himalayas has escalated with both sides trying to woo the landlocked nation.
Concerned with China expanding its military and economic might through the multi-billion infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative in its backyard, India is also bolstering link not only with Nepal but also with Bhutan and Bangladesh under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India Nepal (BBIN) initiative.
China’s debt-trap diplomacy:
Earlier this month, Nepal agreed to fast-track a rail connection from their capital Kathmandu to the Indian mainland. China is making a similar effort to link the Nepalese capital with Tibet.
In 2017, Maithripala Sirisena-led government handed over Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese firm in 2017 for a lease of 99 years. This transfer was part of a debt swap totalling USD 1.2 billion.
Recently, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa rejected reports that Sri Lanka was lured into a “debt trap” by China after Beijing financed the strategic southern port of Hambantota.