Indian minister shows tense Chinese soldiers how to do ‘namaste’

NewsflarePublished: October 9, 2017
Published: October 9, 2017

In a goodwill gesture, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman showed tense Chinese soldiers how to say ‘Namaste’ during a visit to a border post on Sunday.

India and China share a long border and a bitter territorial dispute.

Sitharaman was visiting Nathu La, about 30km from Doklam, where a 73-day tense standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers ended just recently.

The newly appointed Defence Minister was on a maiden visit to the border post. She waved at the Chinese soldiers, who were filming her, and struck a conversation catching them by surprise.

Her staff later shared this video showing her greeting the Chinese soldiers with a “namaste”.

“Do you know what ‘Namaste’ means?” she asked one of them.

It took sometime for the baffled Chinese soldiers to grasp what was happening and one of them eventually responded with a smile and said: “Namaste means nice to meet you.”

Sitharaman then asked “What would you say in Chinese?”

“Ni hao,” responded the Chinese soldiers, triggering laughter on both sides.

The video has gone viral on social media in India and China.

India Today reported from China that the video was eliciting favourable comments on Sina Weibo, the Chinese Twitter equivalent.

"The Indian woman defence minister directly faced the tough border problem. Such a brave woman," wrote Tu Yueyue.

"I am happy to see this peaceful scene," posted Zhui Zhui, another user.

Qian Feng, a Chinese South Asian expert, said the greeting "sent a goodwill signal towards mending bilateral ties."

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