In a strong response to the discriminatory treatment of some Indian sportspersons from the state of Arunachal Pradesh at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, the Indian government has lodged a vehement protest against China’s actions with Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Thakur cancelling his planned visit to China.
Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, expressed deep concern regarding the manner in which the Indian athletes were treated.
“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,” the statement from Bagchi read.
“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,” it added.
Anurag Thakur Cancels China Visit
As a demonstration of India’s protest against China’s actions, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports of India Anurag Thakur has cancelled his planned visit to China for the Games, Baghchi confirmed.
The Indian government further made it clear that it reserves the right to take appropriate measures to protect the interests of its citizens and ensure their fair and equal treatment in international sporting events.
This incident underscores the ongoing tensions between India and China over border disputes, with sports becoming yet another arena for diplomatic standoff between the two nations.
The ongoing Asian Games was originally scheduled to happen in 2022 but had to be pushed to 2023 owing to the Coronavirus pandemic. As many as 655 athletes have been selected and sanctioned by the Sports Ministry to be a part of the Indian contingent in the quadrennial event taking place in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. The continental multi-sport event concludes on October 8.