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Anurag Thakur cancels China visit after Indian athletes denied entry in Asian Games, Centre lodges protest

IANS | September 22, 2023 03:21 PM

NEW DELHI: Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Friday cancelled his visit to China for the 19th Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, as a mark of protest against that country's decision to deny accreditation and entry to the Indian Wushu team players for the mega sports event.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "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.

"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 added.

"A strong protest has been lodged in New Delhi and Beijing against China's deliberate and selective obstruction of some of our sportspersons. 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 further informed.

Informing that the minister has cancelled his visit to China to attend the Asian Games, Bagchi said, "Government of India reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard our interests."

Three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh have not been able to travel to Hangzhou, China for the Asian Games in the absence of clearance by the Chinese authorities.

Minister for earth sciences and MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Kiren Rijiju also condemned the action by China.

"I strongly condemn this act by China to deny visas to our Wushu Athletes from Arunachal Pradesh who were to participate in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. This violates both the spirit of Sports & also the Rules governing the conduct of Asian Games, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states, " Rijiju posted on X.

"Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory but inalienable part of India. Entire people of Arunachal Pradesh resolutely oppose any illegal claim of China on it's land and people. International Olympic Committee should reign in China's illegitimate action, " he added further.

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