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Asian Games

Sports Minister cancels Asian Games trip to China after visa controversy

Anurag Thakur has canceled his scheduled visit to China for the Asian Games in the wake of visa being denied to Wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh.

Sports Minister cancels Asian Games trip to China after visa controversy

Anurag Thakur during the launch of 'Azadi Quest' games. (Source: Twitter/ Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 22 Sep 2023 10:39 AM GMT

Indian foreign ministry has criticized the move by China to not allow Indian wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh to travel to Hangzhou for the Asian Games 2023 and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur has canceled his scheduled trip to China over the issue, Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Friday.

Wushu players from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu were not given clearance to travel to China despite getting their accreditation cards from the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC).

The rest of the Indian wushu squad of 10 players and the coaching staff flew to China.

In a statement, Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said," Indian government firmly rejects the differential treatment of Indian citizens based on domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India."

The statement further read," 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 act violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states."

"Further, as a mark of our protest against the Chinese action, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports of India has canceled his scheduled visit to China for the games," the statement confirmed the Sports Minister not going to China.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened with players from Arunachal Pradesh. Earlier in July, the trio were not allowed to compete at the World University Games in Chengdu, China, as they were issued stapled visas by China. Stapled visas mean China does not recognize India's sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh.

"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," said Randhir Singh, Acting President of Olympic Council of Asia.

India has sent a contingent of 655 athletes to participate in 35 sports for the 19th edition of Asian Games.

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