India on Friday lodged strong protest with China over Beijing barring three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh to travel for the ongoing Asian Games. Three Indian martial arts athletes from Arunachal Pradesh have been forced to pull out of the Asian Games in Hangzhou after not receiving clearance from the host country, according to AFP report. Notably Arunachal Pradesh has become the latest flashpoint between India and China, already reeling from sour relations over the Galwan Valley skirmishes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India in lodging its opposition said, “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."
“India reserves right to take suitable measures to safeguard its interests", Ministry of External Affairs said on China denying accreditation to sportspersons from Arunachal.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said in a statement that Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur's trip to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou was cancelled in lodging protest over China's action.
Olympic Council Of Asia's acting president Randhir Singh said, "We had a meeting yesterday with the Working Group as well and this has been taken up in the Working Group meeting. They are taking it up with the Government and we are also taking it up with the Government. It is under discussion with us as well. This is outside of what the Government to Government is happening. We are from the OCA side of it. We are doing it."
The three women wushu fighters are from the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The rest of the 10-member India wushu squad, along with coaching staff, reportedly left for the Games on Wednesday.
Wushu, or kung fu, is a multi-disciplinary martial art originating in China.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the three Wushu athletes were approved to take part by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee, but were unable to download their accreditation cards -- which act as visas to enter China.
Arunachal has been a point of conflict between India and China, which escalated last month, after Beijing released their latest standard map including Arunachal Pradesh in the map of China, designating the area as 'South Tibet".
Earlier this year, China renamed 11 places in the disputed region. New Delhi consistently maintains that the state has always been, and will always be, an "integral and inalienable part of India".
An AFP report quoted Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) honorary life vice president Wei Jizhong, “These India athletes already got a visa to enter China. China didn't refuse any visa".
Asked about the trio at a regular foreign ministry briefing in Beijing, spokeswoman Mao Ning said, "China welcomes athletes from all countries with legal documents to come to Hangzhou and take part in the Asian Games.
"The Chinese government does not recognize the so-called Arunachal region that you mentioned. South Tibet is part of China."
The Indian wushu team did not travel to the Chinese city of Chengdu for the World University Games in July after the same three athletes were issued stapled, rather than pasted, visas -- an indication that Beijing does not recognise India's territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh.