New Delhi: Going by the gracious and good-natured exchanges at the Nathu La border post with China, one would have found it difficult to guess that the Indian and the Chinese armies were engaged in a bitter stand-off in nearby Doklam till just a month-and-a-half back.
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 where she was on an official visit to on Saturday.
Greeting them with a customary “namaste”, she asked the PLA officials if they knew what it meant. Cutting short an Indian Army official who tried to explain to the Chinese what it meant, she told him: “Let them explain, they know what it is.”
The bemused Chinese soldiers hit it right when they burst out it was a “Ni Hao” or a Chinese “hello, how are you”. And after that, it was “namaste” all the way as the PLA officers smartly folded their palms and blurted “namaste”....