Indian Defence Minister's 'Goodwill Gesture' charms Chinese media

Nirmala Sitharaman Doklam Nathula area Doklam standoff India China border Sikkim standoff Nirmala Sitharaman conducts aerial survey aerial survey of the Doklam Nathula area Nirmala Sitharaman survey India-China

Nirmala Sitharaman Doklam Nathula area Doklam standoff India China border Sikkim standoff Nirmala Sitharaman conducts aerial survey aerial survey of the Doklam Nathula area Nirmala Sitharaman survey India-China

Two short videos of Nirmala Sitharaman's interaction with Chinese troops at the border post in Nathu La was posted on the minister's official Twitter account on Sunday.

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.

A video tweeted from the official Twitter handle of Defence Minister's office shows Sitharaman interacting with a Chinese officer who introduces her to his colleagues.

Greeting them with a customary "namaste", she asked the PLA officials if they knew what it meant.

Targeting her predecessors, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has claimed that the lack of timely decision in the last decade resulted in gaps in the Indian Air Force.

"The minister experienced an unexpected wave of goodwill from Chinese soldiers when she visited troops stationed on the frontier between the countries", South China Morning Post reported.

A Chinese soldier replied with "Ni hao", much to the amusement of all present.

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.

In her address, Sitharaman said the devolved powers given to the Service Chiefs should be fully utilised for achieving their capabilities. Several Chinese media outlets have also shared the video and their internet have users welcomed her interaction as a sign of improving ties after the 72-day stand-off at Doklam.

"This is commonly regarded as the attitude of the Narendra Modi government". "India's concerns about the Siliguri Corridor's security are understandable, but New Delhi can not mess around", it said adding that China is also concerned about the transport route security across the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca, but Beijing has not taken "coercive measures to achieve its aims".

However, her scheduled aerial survey of Doklam and forward posts in the border areas of Sikkim was cancelled due to inclement weather, a statement issued by the Department of Information and Public Relations, government of Sikkim, said.

The Indian minister's visit came amid reports that China has strengthened its military presence at the Doklam Plateau and even started constructing a road in Chumbi valley, about 10km from Doklam.

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