Why India’s Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Cancels Visit to China for Asian Games

Anurag Thakur, Asian Games

India’s Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, has made a significant decision that has sent shockwaves through the sports and diplomatic communities. He has cancelled his scheduled visit to China for the Asian Games in Hangzhou. This drastic step comes as a response to the denial of regular Chinese visas to three Arunachal Wushu athletes who were supposed to participate in the Asian Games.

The Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, emphasized India’s firm stance on protecting its interests. He stated, “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. Government of India reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard our interest.”

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This move underscores India’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens’ rights and interests, especially in the face of discriminatory actions by foreign authorities.

The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson revealed that the Indian government strongly rejects the treatment meted out to its athletes by Chinese Authorities. He stated, “Government of India has learned 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.”

This act of discrimination, based on domicile or ethnicity, goes against India’s long-standing position. Arunachal Pradesh, a state within India, remains an integral and inalienable part of the country.

Anurag Thakur Cancels Visit to China

The Hangzhou Asian Games 2023 Organizing Committee approved Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu, two Wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh, to participate, but they were unable to download their accreditation cards, deepening the controversy surrounding the visa denials for Indian athletes. These accreditation cards act as visas, allowing entry into China for the event.

The third athlete, Nyeman Wangsu, who managed to download her accreditation card, was informed that she would not be allowed to travel beyond Hong Kong. This sudden turn of events left the athletes shocked and disappointed, as they had been preparing for this prestigious sporting event for a considerable amount of time.

Diplomatic Protests and Violation of Asian Games Rules

In response to these developments, the Ministry of External Affairs lodged a strong protest in both New Delhi and Beijing. Arindam Bagchi stated, “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.”

This protest highlights India’s commitment to upholding the principles of fair play and non-discrimination in international sporting events. The Asian Games, like other such events, are meant to foster unity and sportsmanship among participating nations.

The cancellation of Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s visit to China for the Asian Games due to the visa denial controversy underscores India’s commitment to protecting the rights and interests of its citizens. The discriminatory actions against the Arunachal Wushu athletes have not gone unnoticed, and India has taken a firm stance against such practices.