Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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India shuns Beijing Winter Olympics, condemns China move to pick Galwan soldier for torch relay

MEA says Acquino Vimal, Charge d’affaires at the Embassy of India in China, will not be attending the traditional opening or closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

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New Delhi: India Thursday said it will not participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics in any kind of official capacity. It also described as “regrettable” China’s decision to designate Qi Fabao, a soldier who was involved in the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash, as one of the torchbearers for the Olympics torch relay. 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also said that Acquino Vimal, the Charge d’affaires at the Embassy of India in China, will not be attending either the traditional opening or the closing ceremonies of the event.

The Olympics competitions started Wednesday, although the opening ceremony will be held Friday. The Games will go on till 20 February. Skier Arif Khan is the only athlete representing India at the event.

“It is indeed regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicise an event like the Olympics,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing Thursday.

“I wish to inform you that the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of India in Beijing will not be attending the opening or the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” he added.  

The CEO of India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati announced subsequently that Doordarshan will also not air the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

 

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash.

In a report Wednesday, China’s Global Times said Qi, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier who “sustained head injury while fighting bravely in the Galwan Valley border skirmish with India, became a torchbearer during Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Torch Relay on Wednesday”.

The report was headlined “Galwan Valley border clash hero becomes Beijing 2022 torch relay torchbearer”.

This, despite the fact that India had been supporting the Beijing Winter Olympics, even after its close strategic ally — the US — announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games to protest China’s human rights record.

Meanwhile, on the issue of China torturing Arunachal 17-yr-old Miriam Taron, who was picked up by the PLA on 18 January while on a hunting trip in Lungta Jor area before being handed over to India, Bagchi said New Delhi has taken up the matter with Beijing.

“Regarding the issue, let me confirm that we have taken up the matter with the Chinese side. As regards the other details… this issue, you would recall, was handled through military channels and I would refer you to the Ministry of Defence on other elements, but from the Ministry of External Affairs I would just like to reconfirm that we have taken up the matter with the Chinese side,” he said.


Also Read: Ladakh standoff cost China more. Look at its ‘chocolate soldiers’, big tech failure


Pakistan PM Khan leaves for Beijing

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday left for Beijing to attend the Winter Olympics, along with a high-level delegation, on a special invitation from the Chinese government.

During his visit, Khan is expected to hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

“The Prime Minister’s visit would mark the culmination of celebrations commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and China, with more than 140 events organised to showcase the resilience of the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the unfolding international situation,” the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.

“It would thus renew the bilateral commitment to taking the iron-clad partnership between Pakistan and China to new heights and add impetus to cooperation across multiple domains.”

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)


Also Read: 2022 Winter Olympics less than a month away, China’s zero-Covid policy is being tested 


 

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