Sitharaman has also been praised as a “brave women” facing the border challenge as a defence minister. However, the Chinese foreign ministry seemed to suggest that Sitharaman’s friendly interaction was of little importance.
The Chinese foreign ministry seemed to suggest that Sitharaman’s friendly interaction with Chinese soldiers was of little importance.
“The Sikkim section of China-India border has been delineated by historical convention and the Nathu-La pass is the best witness to that fact. We hope that India would observe these historical conventions and agreements and work with China to maintain peace and tranquillity at the border.”
But Sitharaman’s exchange of greetings with Chinese soldiers came in for praise by Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies.
It “sent a goodwill signal towards mending bilateral ties and putting relations back on track toward normality”, Qian told party-run Global Times.
Another expert, Hu Shisheng, said, “Although leaders of the two countries are exploring more cooperation, the focus and priority of the two countries is to avoid friction and conflict.”
In a commentary, Global Times editorialised her border inspection as an “aggressive posture” but said she had “diluted” it by conducting “friendly interactions with Chinese soldiers”.
“New Delhi needs to exercise restraint. It can only strengthen military infrastructure on its own soil when and where international law permits. It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India,” it said.