During a visit to Nathu La on the India-China border, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came across an unexpected group of shutterbug - a row of Chinese soldiers just across the border.
As a Union minister in the government of India, Nirmala Sitharaman is no stranger to having cameras pointed at her wherever she goes.
But this weekend, when the newly minted defence minister was at the Nathu La pass on the India-China border, she came across an unexpected group of shutterbugs - Chinese armymen who had turned their camera lenses towards Nirmala Sitharaman.
If Defence Minister Sitharaman was surprised, she certainly did not show it. In fact, Sitharaman turned towards "the row" of Chinese soldiers and waved at them with a wide smile on her face. Similar smiles were seen on Indian Army personnel surrounding Sitharaman.
In pictures shared by Sitharaman on Twitter, the Indian troops and the defence minister herself can be seen pointedly looking at the Chinese soldiers who are not in the photo's frame. "Acknowledged a row of Chinese soldiers from across the fence who were taking pictures on my reaching Nathu La," Sitharaman captioned the picture on Twitter.
At Nathu La, Sitharaman interacted with Indian Army personnel as well as officials of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Sitharaman made the arduous journey to the border pass via road, and in pictures shared by the Defence Ministry, she was seen sharing sweets with the soldiers posted on the border.
Notably, Nathu La is close to the Doklam plateau, the site of an intense nearly 70-day-long standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies. Recent media reports have suggested that Chinese soldiers remain in the vicinity of the Doklam standoff site.
Reacting to the media reports, the Ministry of External Affairs, in a recent statement, denied that the India-China "disengagement agreement", which brought the Doklam standoff to an end, had been violated.
Incidentally, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was scheduled to undertake an aerial survey of the Doklam region and forward border posts in Sikkim during her visit to Nathu La. However, this was not possible due to bad weather conditions, the Sikkim government said in a statement.