General Bipin Rawat has warned Nepal to be cautious while signing agreements with “other countries” in the region.
Addressing the second annual dialogue with the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement, he said: “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.”
Terming Indo-Nepal ties as “tall as the Himalayas and as deep as the Indian Ocean”, the Chief of Defense Staff said: “India’s goodwill comes with no strings attached.”
The statement follows three back-to-back high-level visits from New Delhi to Kathmandu over the last two months.
With China expanding its military and economic power through the Belt and Road Initiative, India is leaving no stones unturned to bolster its ties with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India Nepal initiative.
Rawat further explained how China’s foreign infrastructure projects are nothing but a debt trap. Once the countries are unable to repay the debt, China captures its resources.
According to reports by Harvard Business Review, China has given loans to more than 150 countries accounting for a total sum of $1.5 trillion.
Notably, this debt trap led to a Chinese state-run enterprise occupying 70 per cent stake in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port for 99 years in 2017. Similarly, Maldives is also under a huge debt of $3.1bn.
Recently, Laos ceded majority control of its electric grid to a Chinese company after struggling to stave off a potential debt default.
As termed by experts, this “debt-trap diplomacy” of China, disguised as infrastructure projects is Beijing’s plan to increase its footprints in the regions.
General Rawat assured Nepal that India has no malice intention and only intends to caution the country over its developing relation with China.