Published: Mon, October 09, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Defence minister makes aerial survey of Doklam-Nathula area

Defence minister makes aerial survey of Doklam-Nathula area

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", the accompanying tweet read.

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.

Sitharam's visit to the Nathu La pass is considered to be significant as recent reports have suggested that Chinese soldiers remain in the vicinity of the Doklam standoff site.

Sitharaman then asks the Chinese equivalent of "Namastey". She also taught them the meaning of "Namaste".

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The Chinese head at the Nathu-La post also briefed her on the posts held by the army personnel present at the meet.

Lauding them for their steadfast commitment and high morale in facing the diverse challenges thrown up by the dynamic security environment, Mrs. Sitharaman exhorted the troops to continue with the same zeal and sense of pride and honour showing due respect to human rights.

This friendly interaction comes days after reports emerged that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has started constructing a road in Chumbi valley, about 10km from Doklam. During her visit, which also coincided with the 85th Air Force Day, the defence minister interacted with the "air warriors" and reviewed the "operational readiness" of the Tezpur airbase where Sukhoi fighter aircrafts and other IAF assets are stationed.

The Defence Minister reiterated the government's resolve to give further impetus to development in the border areas.

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