Asian Games: Sports Minister's China trip cancelled over 'visa denial' to Arunachal athletes

The Indian government said that the Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some of the Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)
Union Minister Anurag Thakur (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Asian Games, one of the biggest multi-event meets in the world in terms of athlete representation, is set to open on Saturday. The Indian contingent reached Hangzhou in batches and is set to be part of what is expected to be one of the most competitive and largest Games. However, China’s refusal to grant accreditation to three Arunachal Pradesh athletes has forced the sports minister to drop his Games visit in protest.

Anurag Thakur decided not to attend the 19th Asian Games. He was earlier scheduled to participate in the Opening Ceremony of the event. “Government of India reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard our interests as some sportspersons were denied entry into the Games,’’ said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. 

The three women wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh are Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu. Earlier, India had pulled out of the World University Games in Chengdu in retaliation to stapled visas. The Indian government said that the Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some of the Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh by denying them accreditation.

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.” For their part, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson reiterated that they have never considered Arunachal Pradesh as part of India. 

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