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Why is Indian Envoy Boycotting Beijing Olympics in China

Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that no diplomats would attend Beijing Olympics happening in China on 4 February 2022. According to reports, the move from New Delhi came after China used the leader of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Qi Fabao as the Olympic torchbearer. 

Is China Politicizing Beijing Olympics?

The MEA called it “regrettable” that China chose to politicise the Beijing Olympics by honouring the soldier involved in the clashes with the Indian army at the Galwan Valley in 2020.

Troops from both sides engaged in hand-to-hand combat in the disputed Kashmir area that reportedly led to the death of 20 Indian and 4 Chinese soldiers. However, Indian forces claimed that they killed more Chinese soldiers, but Beijing was not revealing the actual number.

Both countries concentrated their soldiers in the region after the clash. Many high-level talks between the two sides have failed to fix the tensions.

Who is this Military Commander?

The torchbearer at Beijing Olympics, Qi Fabao, has sparked the ire of India more than once. He reportedly sustained a severe head injury during the Galwan skirmish. After recovering, he stated that he was ready to return to the battlefield and fight India. However, his reception was not so glorious as Indian soldiers.

His addition as one of the 1200 Olympic torchbearers was a sign China hailed him as a hero of the 2020 clash. It did not please India, which responded by boycotting the China Olympics. 

India Supporting Olympics in China Before

Previously, India backed Beijing Olympics despite calls from its allies like the US and the UK to boycott it because of human rights abuses in China. The ties between China and India were shaky because of the Galwan Valley clash, but New Delhi still sided with Russia to support Olympics in China. 

Moreover, several other nations staged a boycott of the games happening in China due to the treatment of Uighurs in an autonomous region. Rights groups have also called out China for its deliberate attempt to “sportswash” its abuses for diplomatic ties with other countries.

However, India only backed out because Qi Fabao was one of the torchbearers. According to reports, 25 countries are still sending their envoys to the Winter Games in China. These countries include Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, and Uzbekistan.

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