New Delhi: China today expressed its willingness in jointly maintaining peace along the border areas with India.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Nathu La yesterday amid reports that China has strengthened its military presence at the Doklam Plateau and even started widening an existing road which is at a distance of around 12 km from the area of the conflict.
Sitharaman had a brief conversation with Chinese soldiers during her maiden visit to the Nathu La border post in Sikkim yesterday and was even seen teaching them how to say ‘Namaste’.
The Defence Minister visited various forward areas along the India-China border yesterday in Sikkim including Nathu La, which is around 30 km from Doklam, the site of 73-day- long standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers.
Her interaction with the troops of the PLA sparked positive response among the Chinese netizens on popular social media websites.
Meanwhile, the state-run tabloid Global Times which routinely attacks India also carried an editorial saying that “India must overcome security paranoia”.
Referring to Sitharaman’s visit to Sikkim, the state-run tabloid Global Times said “a newly constructed airport that she inspected during the visit, the nearest to China’s border, will be put into use in November.” It described it as an “aggressive” gesture.
It went on to add: “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. Maintaining Sino-Indian friendship is a strategic instinct and a rational choice for China.”
India and China are already locked in bitter confrontation over critical issues like Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC.
The two sides so far held 19 rounds of talks at the level of Special Representatives to resolve the dispute.