India slams China for denying accreditation to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh; Thakur cancels visit
A "strong protest" has been lodged in New Delhi against China's "deliberate and selective obstruction" of some of India's sportspersons, says Arindam Bagchi
Union sports minister Anurag Thakur on Friday, 22 September cancelled his visit to China as a mark of protest to Beijing's denial of accreditation to three sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh for participation in the Hangzhou Asian Games with New Delhi describing the Chinese action as discriminatory and against the spirit of the sporting event.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India lodged a strong protest with China and asserted that New Delhi reserves the right to take "suitable measures" to safeguard its interests.
Describing the Chinese action as targeting of the sportspersons in a "pre-meditated" manner, Bagchi said it violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct as they "explicitly prohibits discrimination" against competitors from member states.
The three women wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh couldn't travel to Hangzhou as they were not provided the required accreditation by Chinese authorities.
Bagchi said a "strong protest" has been lodged in New Delhi against China's "deliberate and selective obstruction" of some of India's sportspersons.
The Chinese action came amid the lingering border row between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
"The government of India has learnt that the Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some of the Indian sportspersons from the state of Arunachal Pradesh by denying them accreditation and entry to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China," Bagchi said.
"In line with our long-standing and consistent position, India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on the basis of domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India," he said.
Bagchi said India reserves the right to take "suitable measures to safeguard our interests".
"China's action violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states," he said.
"Further, as a mark of our protest against the Chinese action, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports of India has cancelled his scheduled visit to China for the Games," Bagchi added.
Asked about the three wushu players not being able to participate in the Asian Games, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a media briefing in Beijing that the Chinese government has never "recognised" Arunachal Pradesh.
"The Hangzhou Asian Games is yet another prestigious large-scale multi-sport event hosted by China since the Beijing Winter Olympics. As the host country, China welcomes athletes from all countries to the Games using legal identification," the official said.
"The Chinese government has never recognised so-called 'Arunachal'. The area of Zangnan is Chinese territory," the spokesperson claimed.
India has routinely been rejecting China's claim over Arunachal Pradesh maintaining that the state is an integral and inalienable party of the country.
In July, India described as "unacceptable" China issuing stapled visas to a few sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh.
In the past too, there were instances of China issuing stapled visas to Indians from Arunachal Pradesh that drew sharp reactions from New Delhi.
China has been laying claims over Arunachal Pradesh saying it is part of Southern Tibet.
In April, India outrightly rejected China's renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of India and assigning "invented" names does not alter this reality.
Published: 23 Sep 2023, 8:36 AM