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Winter Olympics: India Announces Diplomatic Boycott Over Galwan Incident

Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), described the decision as "regrettable," adding that China has chosen to politicize the sports event.

Shivani Meena
Winter Olympics are getting started from Friday 4th February
Winter Olympics are getting started from Friday 4th February

India's envoy will not join the opening or closing events of the Winter Olympics commencing Friday in Beijing, citing Beijing's choice to choose a Chinese soldier implicated in the Galwan incident as an Olympic torchbearer as "regrettable." 

This effectively indicates that New Delhi will boycott the Olympics on a diplomatic level, despite sending an athlete to participate. 

The Galwan clashes in mid-June 2020 claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, and at least four China troops, making it the worst confrontation between the two countries in almost four decades. 

"It is indeed regrettable that the Chinese side has selected to politicize an event like the Olympics," Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to questions about reports of a Chinese soldier from the Galwan confrontations being selected as the torchbearer for the games. "Neither the opening nor the closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be attended by the Charge d'Affaires of the India Embassy in Beijing." 

When asked about accusations of torture by the Chinese Army against the Arunachal boy who was just returned after being held captive by the PLA, the MEA spokesperson stated the matter "has been taken up with the Chinese side." "I would recommend it to the Ministry of Defence and other elements," he said, adding that the situation "was handled through military channels." 

Along with Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia, the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games. Despite the fact that they will all send athletes to participate, no ministers or officials will be there.

The United States has stated that this is due to China's "human rights violations and horrors in Xinjiang" against the province's Muslim minority. "It's disgraceful that Beijing picked a torchbearer for the Olympics 2022 who was part of the military command that invaded India in 2020," said Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

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