Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s spontaneous greeting to Chinese soldiers during their first visit to the Nathu La border crossing in Sikkim met with Chinese experts and Internet users who welcomed the decision. During his visit, Sitharaman taught the Chinese soldiers the meaning of namaste and the procedure to follow. The moment was captured and shared by the Defense Minister on Twitter. She interacted with the Indo-Tibetan border army and police.
Chinese social media
Although the Chinese Foreign Ministry tried to avoid recognition of Sitharaman’s interaction, his momentum with the People’s Liberation Army led to a positive response among Chinese Internet users. According to the Times of India, China-based blogger Zhui Zhui said: “I am happy to see this peaceful scene.”
In Sina Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, a user named Tu Yueyue wrote: “The defense minister of the Indian woman was directly confronted with the border problem, a woman so brave.” A source was quoted in the report saying that praise was important because there are no women in the high ranks of the Communist Party and the government in China.
On Monday, China said Nathu La’s post was the “best witness” of the China-UK treaty in 1890. “The Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border was delimited by the historic treaty of 1890 and the Nathu La Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a news conference in response to a question about Sitharaman’s visit.
“The Chinese side is willing to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas with the Indian side based on the observation of the historic treaties and the relevant agreements and agreements between the two sides,” Hua said. Beijing often referred to the treaty between Britain and China in 1890 during the Doka La confrontation, stating that it had defined the Sikkim section of the border with Tibet, so that the border in this region has been resolved.
While CGTN was broadcasting extracts from its video, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post tells the story, saying: “The Indian Defense Minister is building bridges with Chinese troops.” “The minister experienced an unexpected wave of goodwill on the part of the Chinese soldiers when he visited the troops stationed at the border between the two countries,” said the South China Morning Post.
Sitharaman’s interaction also impressed Chinese commentators. “The welcome sent a sign of goodwill to repair bilateral ties and put relations on the path of normalcy,” said Qian Feng, an expert with the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies at the Global Times, who published a separate story about Sikarim of Sitharaman visits with a legend “The Indian Minister makes waves in the PLA.”
The Indian government must show more determination to improve its relations, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi “enjoys benefits to achieve this goal,” Qian said in his report. On the border between India and China, stretching 3,485 km between Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, a 220 km section falls into Sikkim. So far, both parties have held 19 rounds of negotiations at the level of special representatives to resolve the dispute. Meanwhile, Global Times – which has a reputation for criticizing India – has also published an editorial.
In the article “India must overcome security paranoia,” he said Sitharaman had inspected a newly built airport during the visit, closest to the Chinese border, to be used in November. “But his aggressive gesture seems to have been diluted by his friendly interactions with the Chinese soldiers in Nathula,” he said, referring directly to the namaste’s gesture. “China is unwilling to see that relations with India are consuming too much energy and that India is not a major axis of China’s strategic ambition.