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Defence Minister Sitharaman reviews operational readiness of Tezpur airbase

11 October 2017

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.

Another source was quoted as saying by the Times of India that Sitharaman was indeed courageous as there is no woman in the senior ranks of the Communist Party and government in China.

The light-hearted exchange saw Sitharaman greeting the Chinese soldiers "Namastey", to which they responded with "Ni Hao".

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In a separate editorial, the newspaper said that the Indian defence minister's "friendly interactions with Chinese soldiers" had "diluted" her "aggressive gesture" of inspecting the airport near border area, which will be put to use in November, during her visit to Sikkim. This video explaining the meaning of hello to Chinese troops, the Defense Minister later tweeted with his Twitter handle.

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

Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday inaugurated the bi-annual Indian Air Force (IAF) Commanders' Conference at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhavan) in New Delhi.

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"Though leaders of the two countries are exploring more cooperation, the focus and priority of the two countries is to avoid friction and conflict", Hu said.

Earlier, Sitharam said she waved at the Chinese soldiers from the across the border who were reportedly taking her pictures. "This is commonly regarded as the attitude of the Narendra Modi government", said a Global Times report. It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India.

However, her scheduled aerial survey of Doklam, an area where Indian and Chinese troops indulged in an over two-month-long standoff, got cancelled due to bad weather. Chief of Eastern Command Lt Gen Abhay Krishna briefed her about the Army's security preparedness along the India-China border. "Both countries should control the risks", the daily opined.

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The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.

Defence Minister Sitharaman reviews operational readiness of Tezpur airbase