India's defence minister reviews operational readiness of Tezpur airbase

Sitharaman with troops

Sitharaman with troops

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.

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

The light-hearted exchange saw Sitharaman greeting them "Namastey", as the Chinese troops responded with the greeting, "Ni Hao".

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

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today reviewed the operational readiness of the strategically important Eastern airbase of Tezpur. 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.

"The Union Minister who was scheduled to make her aerial survey of Doklam and forward posts along the Indo-Sino border in Sikkim was cancelled due to inclement weather".

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He added: "A good place to start might be the Alexander-Murray negotiations that would stabilize the system and lower costs". John Cornyn (R-TX) has said of the party's failure to pass health care legislation . "It's obviously been very hard".

Sitharaman, on a day's visit to Sikkim, traveled by road to Nathu La, 52 km from Gangtok, and interacted with army and ITBP officials posted there.

"Nice to meet you", guesses the Chinese soldier, smiling.

The defense 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 Dokalam.

The Defence Minister's visit to Nathu La came amid reports of presence of PLA troops in large numbers close to Doklam, where both Indian and Chinese soldiers were till recently engaged in a faceoff.

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

The Indian government maintained, however, that there was no change in the status quo in the area.

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