Liang Guanglie meets AK Antony, the Indian defense minister, on Sept. 4. (Photo/Xinhua)
China's defense minister, Liang Guanglie, is suspected by India's intelligence community of attempting to set up a spy network in the country after he attempted to give cash gifts of US$900 to two Indian Air Force pilots who flew him from Mumbai to New Delhi, reports by Mail Today, a joint venture with Britain's Daily Mail based in Delhi.
S Jaishankar, India's ambassador to China, is expected to express his government's displeasure to the Chinese foreign ministry over the red envelopes which Liang gave to the unsuspecting pilots. With the long-running border dispute between the two countries, Indian intelligence circles suspect that the minister's act was not an innocent diplomatic faux pas but rather something more sinister. The Chinese delegation tried their very best to pass the money to the two senior officers of the Indian Air Force's communication squadron, according to the intelligence source.
Chinese analysts have called the suspicions of the Indian government a conspiracy theory, with one analyst pointing out to Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese, that even if the Chinese military had the intention to bribe Indian officers, it would not be done by the defense minister. It is unimaginable that China's top military official could personally enlist spies for the PLA.
After the two pilots turned the money they found inside two envelopes over to their superiors, New Delhi decided to put the money into the state treasury as it would be inappropriate to send the money back to China. "Such incidents only add to the mistrust between the two countries and it is bound to have an impact on bilateral ties," said a senior official.
Liang Guanglie 梁光烈