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June 29, 2017

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China minister tips Indian pilots US$1,800: reports

NEW DELHI -- China's defense minister caused a diplomatic headache during his trip to India by offering nearly US$2,000 as a tip to two air force pilots who flew him from Mumbai to New Delhi, reports said Thursday.

Liang Guanglie, who leaves on Thursday after a four-day tour, handed over the cash in two envelopes after the flight in stormy monsoon weather on Monday evening, The Hindu newspaper reported.

"The Chinese defense minister was pleased with the way the IAF (Indian Air Force) pilots handled the flight and flew him down to the capital smoothly," the newspaper said, citing anonymous sources.

The cash gift of 100,000 rupees (US$1,800) broke Indian protocol rules, which forbid crews from accepting money, The Hindu and other newspapers reported.

The money will be deposited in the government treasury.

"Officials were inclined to believe that the visiting minister was probably not well briefed on the protocol and customs followed in such situations in India," The Hindu added.

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