India Pulls Out of Games in China over Stapled Visas for Arunachal Athletes


In a strong protest against China’s issuance of stapled visas to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh, India has decided to withdraw its entire wushu (martial art) team from the upcoming World University Games in Chengdu. The decision came after airport authorities in New Delhi halted an eight-member contingent, comprising five athletes, a coach, and two support staff, at the boarding gate just minutes before their scheduled departure on Thursday midnight. The team was on its way to participate in the prestigious games, but the issuance of stapled visas to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh prompted India’s response of pulling out from the event.

China’s practice of consistently denying stamped visas to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh has been a longstanding point of contention between the two nations, with China citing a territorial dispute as the reason behind their actions.

Speaking about the incident, Coach Raghvendra Singh expressed his frustration, stating, “We were stopped at the gate by immigration officials and CISF personnel. They did not give any reason and claimed they were merely acting on the government’s instructions.” This abrupt action by Indian authorities is seen as a strong message against China’s discriminatory visa policy.

The decision to withdraw the wushu team from the World University Games is a significant move on India’s part, as it reflects the nation’s firm stance on issues concerning the treatment of its citizens and territorial integrity. The World University Games, also known as Universiade, is a prominent multi-sport event that brings together thousands of university athletes from around the world to compete in various disciplines.

This incident adds another layer of tension to the already complex India-China relationship. Over the years, the two countries have grappled with border disputes and geopolitical issues, leading to occasional diplomatic confrontations. The issuance of stapled visas to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh has been a recurring point of disagreement, with India viewing it as a direct challenge to its sovereignty and a violation of the One China policy.

India’s decision to pull out its entire wushu team from the games is an unequivocal expression of discontent and sends a clear message to China. The move signifies India’s refusal to accept any compromise on the status and identity of its citizens from Arunachal Pradesh, and it underscores the importance of upholding principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The incident also highlights the sensitivities surrounding sports diplomacy and the potential for sporting events to become platforms for political messaging. While sports can serve as a medium to promote unity and goodwill among nations, it can also become a tool for expressing grievances and asserting national interests.

As of now, there has been no official response from China regarding India’s decision to withdraw from the World University Games. It remains to be seen how this development will impact the bilateral relations between the two countries going forward.

The World University Games in Chengdu is set to proceed without the participation of India’s wushu team, which would have been a strong contender at the event. India’s move to withdraw from the games serves as a reminder that beyond the realm of athletic competition, larger geopolitical issues can influence and shape the dynamics of international sporting events.

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