The Straits Times
Published on Sep 06, 2012

China's defence minister tips Indian pilots $2,200


NEW DELHI (AFP) - China's defence minister caused a diplomatic headache during his trip to India by offering US$1,800 (S$2,200) as a tip to two air force pilots who flew him from Mumbai to New Delhi, reports said on Thursday.

Mr 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 defence minister was pleased with the way the 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 (S$2,200) broke Indian protocol rules, which forbid crews from accepting money, The Hindu and other newspapers reported.