India’s diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics applauded on Capitol Hill

Updated - February 04, 2022 02:18 pm IST

Published - February 04, 2022 02:00 pm IST

India’s diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing was praised on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. New Delhi’s move was a reaction to China appointing, as a torchbearer, a PLA soldier who had fought against Indians in Galwan in 2020.

“I applaud India for joining the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics,” Chair of the powerful U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez (Democrat), said.

“ We stand with all countries that reject the CCP’s heinous human rights abuses & cold-blooded effort to turn the #Olympics2022 into a political victory lap,” he said. Significantly, Mr. Menendez has also criticized India’s human rights record and had linked – as recently as March last year - U.S. cooperation with India to it.

The U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia had announced a diplomatic boycott of the games to protest Beijing’s human rights record in the Uighur Muslim majority province of Xinjiang. India, however, did not join the boycott earlier and it’s recently announced decision was based on China’s appointment of PLA regiment commander Qi Fabao, who was decorated for his actions against Indian soldiers in Galwan, as an Olympic torchbearer. New Delhi had termed the appointment “regrettable” and criticized the politicization of the games.

India, which has one athlete in the games (Arif Khan, a skier), announced that the Chargé d’Affaires at the Indian Embassy in Beijing would not attend the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olymocs. Doordarshan, the state broadcaster, also said it would not air these programs.

New Delhi’s move also found support on the Republican side of the aisle in Washington DC. “ It’s shameful that #Beijing chose a torchbearer for the #Olympics2022 who’s part of the military command that attacked #India in 2020 and is implementing #genocide against the #Uyghurs. The U.S. will cont. to support #Uyghur freedoms & the sovereignty of India,” Ranking Member Jim Risch (Republican) of the Senate committee said.

Asked for the Biden administration’s position on India’s reaction to China appointing Mr Qi as a torchbearer, the U.S. State Department’s spokesperson, Ned Price, said the U.S. stands with its partners and allies and that it had , earlier, voiced its concerns of “Beijing’s pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbors.”

Mr. Price also said the U.S. supported dialogue and the peaceful resolution of the border issue between India and China.

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