New Delhi: India has strongly protested against China’s controversial decision to bar three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh from participating in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, marking the second such incident in two months. The athletes were unable to download travel documents from an official Chinese website, preventing their participation.
This move prompted India’s sports minister, Anurag Thakur, to cancel his planned visit to China. The Indian government lodged a formal protest in both New Delhi and Beijing, expressing its outrage over China’s “deliberate and selective” obstruction of the athletes.
According to India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, Chinese authorities discriminated against these Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh in a “targeted and pre-meditated manner” by denying them accreditation and entry to the Asian Games. He emphasized that this action goes against the spirit and rules governing the Asian Games, explicitly prohibiting discrimination against competitors from member states.
China’s action comes at a time when India-China relations are strained due to a prolonged military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). India has linked the normalization of relations to the restoration of peace in the border areas.
Bagchi underlined India’s rejection of differential treatment of its citizens based on domicile or ethnicity, emphasizing that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as “south Tibet” and recently released its own names for locations and geographic features in the border state. This move was met with strong opposition from India and other countries.
The three wushu players affected by this incident – Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu – received accreditation cards that also serve as entry visas from the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee. However, they encountered difficulties when trying to download their travel documents required for validation upon arrival in China.
This is not the first time these athletes have faced such issues. In July, they were unable to compete at the World University Games in Chengdu because they were issued stapled visas by China. Stapled visas signify China’s non-recognition of India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, a position consistently rejected by India.
In response to the recent incident, the Indian government emphasized that it reserves the right to take appropriate measures to safeguard its interests. India firmly maintains that Arunachal Pradesh is and will remain an integral part of the country.