India's defence minister interacts with Chinese soldiers at border checkpoint

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves at Chinese soldiers during a visit to Nathu La

Sitharaman is India's first female defence minister.

Going by the gracious and good-natured exchanges at the Nathu La border post with China, one would have found it hard to guess that the Indian and the Chinese armies were engaged in a bitter standoff in nearby Dokala till just a month and a half back.

With the Chinese soldiers looking a little confused, she asked them, "Do you know what "namaste" is?"

A Defence Ministry press release said, the visit was part of her familiarisation with all the formations of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force came close on the heels of her visit to Northern Command recently and her visit to Sikkim yesterday.

In a video shared by the official Twitter handle of the Defense Ministry of India, Nirmala Sitharaman was seen teaching Chinese soldiers how to say namaste.

In the video, she is seen greeting the People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers at the Nathu La border post in Sikkim with a "Namaste" - the Indian form of greeting - and having a pleasant chat.

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Despite the recent stand-off between India and China, the Global Times argues, "Sino-Indian relations are entering a new era of crisis management where Indian leadership should seek to fix stagnated ties".

Nirmala Sitharaman took to Twitter to share a post showing her waving at Chinese troops, who were taking pictures of her from across the border.

As per reports, Chinese daily Global Times has hailed Sitharaman's gesture and has called it a "goodwill signal" between the India and China after the 73-day long Doklam standoff.

A man walks inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, at the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, in 2009.

India said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity there was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.

"The Sikkim section of China-India border has been delineated by historical convention and the Nathu-La pass is the best witness to that fact". New Delhi also needs to give up its pursuit of Washington and Tokyo support to deploy as a bargaining chip against Beijing. It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India.

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