Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

India Defense minister teaches Chinese soldiers meaning of 'Namaste'

India Defense minister teaches Chinese soldiers meaning of 'Namaste'

Sitharaman had earlier visited Nathu La area on the China-India border and interacted with army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officials.

"Acknowledged a row of Chinese soldiers from across the fence who were taking pictures on my reaching Nathu La", Sitharaman later tweeted.

The Defence Minister's visit to Nathu La came amid reports of presence of PLA troops in large numbers close to Doklam, where both Indian and Chinese soldiers were till recently engaged in a faceoff.

Sitharaman visited various forward areas along the India-China border yesterday in Sikkim including Nathu La. When the Chinese Commander introduces his soldiers to the Defense Minister, she greeted the Chinese soldiers as a greeting to Indian soldiers according to Indian tradition. In a commentary, Global Times editorialised her border inspection as an "aggressive posture" but said she had "diluted" it by conducting "friendly interactions with Chinese soldiers". Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

"The greeting sent a goodwill signal towards mending bilateral ties and putting relations back on track toward normality", said Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies as quoted by the Hindustan Times.

"Namaste, You know what namaste means?", she can be heard asking.

"The Indian woman defence minister directly faced the tough border problem". Chinese soldiers then explain that they nǐ hǎo while greeting people.

Just weeks ago there was a terse eye-ball to eye-ball contact between soldiers of both sides during the Doklam incident in nearby Bhutan. "It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India", the newspaper said in its Op-ed piece.

The Minister, who was accompanied by Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Sarath Chand and GOC-in-C Eastern Command Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, was received at Tezpur Airforce Station by GOC Gajraj Corps Lt Gen AS Bedi and other senior dignitaries of the Army and the Air Force.

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