India's defence minister reviews operational readiness of Tezpur airbase

Nirmala Sitharaman

The officer guesses: "Nice to meet you".

The defence minister's visit to the border area comes more than a month since Indian and Chinese troops disengaged after almost a 70-day standoff at Doklam.

She was also seen asking one of the PLA personnel: "Do you know what "Namaste" means?".

But it was soft diplomacy at its best when defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman greeted Chinese military officials with an Indian customary "namaste" at the Nathu La border during her official visit to the place. In the video, the minister is seen explaining the meaning of "Namaste" to PLA soldiers stations along the border.

Earlier, Nirmala Sitharam said she waved at the Chinese soldiers from the across the border who were reportedly taking her pictures.




Sitharaman also asked him what he would say to her in Chinese and he responded with a "Ni hao". The Minister reiterated the Government's resolve to give further impetus to development in the border areas.

The visit which is part of Sitharaman's familiarization with all the formations of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) comes close on the heels of her visit to Northern Command recently and her visit to Sikkim on Saturday. A face-off followed at Doklam plateau, with soldiers from both sides staring down at each other standing just 150 m apart. India backs Bhutan's claim.

Since being posted to Twitter this morning, the video has already been "liked" over 5,200 times and retweeted over 3,000 times. "Good English as well", tweets another.

Notably, recent media reports have suggested that Chinese soldiers remain in the vicinity of the Doklam standoff site, in increased numbers. With the help of a Chinese interpreter, Sitharaman was introduced to a People's Liberation Army commander and captain posted at the China-India border.

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