Nirmala Sitharaman teaches Chinese soldiers how to say namaste

Nirmala Sitharaman teaches Chinese soldiers how to say namaste

Kerry Wise
October 9, 2017

On Saturday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Nathu La area on the Sino-India border.

Sitharaman greets the officers with folded hands and a "namaste". As it turns out, the Chinese soldier nearly guessed the answer correctly.

As an Indian soldier approaches to end the quiz by telling the answer, the Defence Minister signalled him to wait.

A video tweeted from the official handle of the defence minister's office shows Sitharaman interacting with a Chinese officer, who then introduces her to his colleagues.

"What would you say in Chinese?" asks the minister.

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In mid-June, Indian soldiers had crossed the Sikkim border to stop the construction of a Chinese road near the "Chicken's Neck" - a thin strip that links India to its northeastern states.

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

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.

Mrs Sitharaman also visited the Gajraj Corps Head Quarters where she was briefed by GOC Gajraj Corps Lt Gen AS Bedi on the overall security situation in Assam and the Kameng Sector of Arunachal Pradesh and the operational preparedness of the Corps.

The minister earlier took to Twitter to share a post showing her waving at Chinese troops who were taking pictures of her from across the border. She also reviewed the operational readiness of the airbase, seeing the Sukhoi fighter aircraft and other IAF assets at first-hand. Sitharaman's survey assumes significance as is come a day after the government claimed that the status quo at the site has not changed since the disengagement on August 28.