China's presence in Bangladesh conflicts with India's interests: General Bipin Rawat
Guwahati, India, October 25: India's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has said that China's presence to Bangladesh and Myanmar is not in India's interest. He made the remarks at an event in Guwahati, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, on Saturday.
Bipin Rawat said that these two neighboring countries have received the most military assistance from China. He further said Beijing is also investing in Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives to find a strategic foothold in South Asia.
"Because of what's happening in Myanmar our trade relations might get affected. There is a kind of civil war happening there. Otherwise, we have good relations with them. They trust us. Let me assure you, Myanmar doesn't want to go towards China," Rawat said.
The Indian CDS said China's recent geopolitical competition and huge investment in South Asia is being done in order to create an environment conducive to ensuring adequate security for Beijing's interests.
"Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a clarion call that India believes in SAGAR - Security and Growth for all. We have to continue to move in that mission. We should not allow this mission to go back in any way. We must make sure to tell our neighbours that we are here as friends, we are here to engage with you on equal terms, we consider all our neighbours as equals, partners in the development of this region," Rawat said.
"We have to continue our foray into neighbouring countries. China has the habit of using money power and economics to gain popularity in those countries. So long as we are able to convince that in the long-term we will be your friends...in the short term, you will get a monetary advantage from China, but at what cost? We have seen some of the nations, what they have gone through. If you are going to fall into the same trap, the choice is yours," he said.
"We have rich cultural and historical linkages with these countries. I think that is what we need to exploit. The cultural linkages are there which have been developed through the years. They cannot be allowed to die down because of some action of one particular nation (China). That is our strength and we must exploit," the Indian CDS said.