India has announced its own diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Games, joining the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain and other countries who protested the host country’s violations of human rights.
On Thursday, the Indian Foreign Ministry announced the boycott after a regimental commander involved in the deadly 2020 border encounter with Indian soldiers was seen as one of the Olympic torchbearers during the Games’ opening ceremony, reported The Washington Post.
Col. Qi Fabao reportedly sustained a four-inch forehead wound during the Galwan Valley area skirmish that resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. China has since hailed Qi as a hero for his role in the incident at the disputed border, reported CNN.
While China’s official report of its loss was four soldiers, new research suggested that at least 38 PLA troops drowned during the fight, according to NDTV.
Col. Qi’s appearance at the ceremony drew outrage from Indian officials. According to the Post, New Delhi’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told the local press, “It is indeed regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicize an event like the Olympics.”
The official further stated that India would not send its senior envoy to attend the opening or closing events at Beijing’s National Stadium. Bagchi did not elaborate if Indian officials will attend other Olympic events.
Among those who joined Friday’s opening events were Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
India’s cited reason for the boycott was separate from the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott made in protest of the alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, as NextShark previously reported.
The participation of skier Arif Khan, India’s sole representative in Beijing, will not be affected by the decision.
While the Chinese government has yet to respond to India’s decision, Chinese state media official Hu Xijin has defended Qi’s participation in the Olympic ceremony on social media.