Nirmala teaches Chinese soldiers to say namaste

Nirmala teaches Chinese soldiers to say namaste
 Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came across an unexpected row of Chinese soldiers during a visit to Nathu La on the India-China border.

Unfazed, Sitharaman turned towards the Chinese soldiers and waved at them with a wide smile on her face. Indian Army personnel surrounding her also smiled at them.

In a video shared by the official Twitter handle of the Defence Ministry of India, Sitharaman was seen teaching Chinese soldiers posted near the Sikkim border how to say namaste, the traditional form of greeting in India.

Sitharaman interacted with the Chinese soldiers during a flag meeting ceremony later. She was introduced to a People’s Liberation Army commander and captain posted at the China-India border with the help of a Chinese interpreter.

Sitharaman then pressed her hands together and greeted the soldiers with a smile. The Chinese soldiers returned her greeting by saying namaste.

“Acknowledged a row of Chinese soldiers from across the fence who were taking pictures on my reaching Nathu La,” she tweeted.

Nathu La is close to the Doklam plateau, the site of the recent 70-day-long standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies. Recent media reports have suggested that Chinese soldiers remain in the vicinity of the Doklam standoff site.

India has denied any change in the status quo. The Ministry of External Affairs, in a recent statement, denied that the India-China "disengagement agreement", which brought the Doklam standoff to an end, was violated.

Incidentally, Sitharaman was scheduled to undertake an aerial survey of the Doklam region and forward border posts in Sikkim during her visit to Nathu La.

But the Sikkim government said in a statement that this was not possible due to bad weather conditions, Sitharam, who was in Sikkim for a day, travelled to Nathu La by road and interacted with the Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officials.

This was her maiden visit to the Eastern Command after taking charge as defence minister last month.

She was accompanied by Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Sarath Chand and GOC-in-C Eastern Command Lt Gen Abhay Krishna.

Lt Gen Krishna briefed her about the Army’s security preparedness along the India-China border.

A defence ministry statement said Sunday that Sitharaman reviewed the operational readiness first-hand at the Tezpur airbase where the Sukhoi fighter aircraft and other IAF assets are stationed.

Thereafter, she visited the Gajraj Corps HQ where she was briefed on the overall security situation in Assam and the Kameng Sector of Arunachal Pradesh and the operational preparedness of the Corps.

She also visited Solmara Military Station, Tezpur where she interacted with the officers and jawans over a cup of tea.

Since she took charge last month, Sitharaman has been travelling to several Army and Airforce stations in forwarding areas as part of her familiarisation exercise. She had visited the Northern Command areas in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Siachen camp on Vijayadashami day.
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