Rift in open again as Modi minister scraps China visit for Asian Games after Beijing denies visas to Arunachal athletes
The Indian foreign ministry issued a statement saying the Narendra Modi government had lodged a protest in Delhi and Beijing against alleged discrimination against Indian sportspersons.
Mascots of the 19th Asian Games are seen in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on June 15, 2023. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA’S disturbed ties with China over their geographical borders came to the fore once again on Friday (22) when the former’s sports minister Anurag Thakur cancelled his visit to the northern neighbour after Beijing refused to give visas and accreditation to Indian athletes from the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh to take part in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
India accused China of deliberately and selectively obstructing sportspersons.
Its ministry of external affairs said in a statement, “Government of India has learnt Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh by denying them accreditation and entry to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
“In line with our long-standing and consistent position, India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on basis of domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India.”
It also said that the Indian government has lodged a strong protest both in New Delhi and Beijing against China’s “deliberate and selective obstruction” of Indian athletes, adding that such actions “violate both spirit of Asian games and rules governing their conduct”.
It also confirmed cancellation of Thakur’s visit to China for the sporting event which is set to take off on Saturday (23) and will continue till October 8. The event was originally scheduled for 2022 but was postponed by a year due to China’s strict Covid-19 restrictions.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as its territory, causing a rift with India. Last month, Beijing issued a new “standard” map that included the north-eastern India state and the Aksai Chin region in eastern Ladakh within its boundaries, causing an uproar in India.