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Nepal, Bhutan have to be inclined towards India: Gen Rawat

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

Chief of Army Staff Bipin Sunday said countries like and "have to be inclined to because of geography".

He was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of the initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation- Field Training Exercise, also known as BIMSTEC-MILEX 18.

Replying to a query on Nepal's growing alignment with China, said, "Countries like and have to be inclined to because of geography. Geography favours inclination towards and as far as alliance (with China) is concerned, it is a temporary thing."

Giving the example of and the US, the claimed that such ties were temporary and bound to change along with the scenario at the global level.

"The best example of this is the relation between and It is not the same as what it used to be 70 years ago. Therefore, we need not be bothered about all these issues. We need to concentrate on how to keep our country strong," he said.

said the leadership in India believes in developing relations with its neighbours.

"We are a bigger country and if we take the lead, everybody will follow suit. That is why we stepped into this (by organising the exercise)," he said.

He claimed that India looked at as a competitor because of "economics".

"They (China) are looking for a market and so are we. There is competition. Whoever does it better will win the race," Rawat said.

Replying to a query on whether the issue of illegal immigration would be added to the BIMSTEC discussion in future, the 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, of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, while addressing the press at the function, said that 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 said.

While contingents of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and took part in the week-long military exercise, Nepal and skipped it and sent observers instead.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 19:10 IST