India has said it will boycott the Winter Olympics on a diplomatic level in protest against China’s decision to pick a Chinese soldier involved in the Galwan clash as a torchbearer at the event.
In a statement, New Delhi, on Thursday said that India’s envoy will not attend the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympics beginning Friday in Beijing. India, however, will send an athlete to the event.
“It is indeed regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicize an event like Olympics…the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of India in Beijing will not be attending the opening or the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2020 Winter Olympics,” Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Around 20 Indian soldiers had died in clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. It was the deadliest of the skirmishes since India’s war with China in 1962.
While China claims that it lost only four soldiers in the clashes, a report compiled by a group of social media researchers and recently published in an Australian daily, puts the number at 42.
The report claims that soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “panicked into retreat” and around 38 of them were swept off by the Galwan river.
The report states that a troop of Indian soldiers headed by the late Colonel Santosh Babu had visited a buffer zone, a disputed area, in eastern Ladakh to check if the Chinese side had removed their camps. According to the report, PLA Army Colonel Qi Fabao, a regiment commander, who was present at the site with around 150 soldiers asked his troops to form battle formation instead of discussing the issue with the Indian side. The report states that Colonel Fabao had launched an attack on the Indian soldiers and two other PLA soldiers, battalion commander Chen Hongjun and soldier Chen Xiangrong, had attacked the Indian soldiers with steel pipes, sticks and stones to help him escape.
It was this Colonel Fabao who had carried the torch at the traditional torch relay of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Wednesday.