Defence minister makes aerial survey of Doklam-Nathula area

11 October, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves at Chinese soldiers during a visit to Nathu La

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a recent statement, denied that the India-China "disengagement agreement", which brought the Doklam standoff to an end, was violated.

Unfazed, Sitharaman turned towards the Chinese soldiers and waved at them with a wide smile on her face. The Defence Minister said keeping the morale of the forces high at all times was a top priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

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 Chinese soldiers returned her greeting saying namaste.

An editorial in the media outlet said, "Indian society is sensitive and arrogant, and Indian media is amplifying nationalism". "Sitharaman's charm offensive might help break the ice between Chinese and Indian public opinion".

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who undertook a whirlwind tour of defence bases across the country, today called her visits an "eye-opening experience" and stressed on the integration of the three armed forces.

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It added: "China is not willing to see that ties with India consume too much energy and India is not a major focus for China's strategic ambition". Its modernisation and development does not depend on winning the initiative in its relations with China. "China is also concerned about the transport route security across the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca, but Beijing has taken no coercive measures to achieve its aims", the daily said. "Both countries should control the risks".

"Indians must overcome the paranoia that suggests their country is strategically thwarted and threatened by Beijing".

China is stronger than India militarily and economically, but Bejing considers New Delhi to be a rival.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day standoff in Dokalam that began from June 16 over road construction activity at the India-Bhutan-China trijunction.

The Indian Army and the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) had, on August 28, chose to disengage their troops from Bhutan's Doklam plateau after months-long stand-off.

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