As India lodged a strong protest over China's visa denial for players from Arunachal Pradesh for the ongoing Asian Games, Zha Liyou, the Consul General of China in Kolkata, called for strengthening bilateral ties between two countries, which is in the "fundamental interest" of both sides.
In his address at a programme to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of China, Zha said that Beijing is ready to work with India to implement the objectives of a consensus reached by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on promoting bilateral ties on a "healthy and global track".
Zha avoided giving any direct answers to the row involving visa denial to Arunachal Pradesh players for the Asian Games, simply saying that it was a "bilateral issue".
"A stable and healthy China-India relationship is in the fundamental interest of both countries and their peoples. The common development and revitalization of the two countries is related to the future of us, of Asia and of the world," he said in his remarks.
The Chinese envoy further commented that India-China relations remain stable as leaders from both sides maintain dialogue and communication, highlight Xi and PM Modi's face-to-face interactions. He asserted that Beijing is ready to work with all parties, including India, to overcome difficulties and build global peace.
Zha also highlighted India and China's shared long history. "We are the only two major countries with a population of more than 1 billion. There are no other twins and pairs and partners like this. We are important. We are important emerging economies with a broader development prospect. The friendly exchanges between the peoples of China and India have a long history and will have long centuries to go," he said in the programme.
He also congratulated India on the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the Moon's south pole.
Row between India and China over Asian Games
Three Wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh - Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu - have been reportedly been unable to travel to China for the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou, even though other squad members did not suffer any issues and were able to travel.
As per reports, the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee has given the accreditation cards to the three athletes but their cards could not be downloaded for validation. Notably, this was not an issue for the other athletes. The trio was part of the 11-member Wushu squad that was set to leave for China on Wednesday night from the IGI Airport.
India lodged a strong protest, accusing Chinese authorities of "differential treatment" of Indian citizens and discriminating against them in a "targeted, pre-meditated" manner. Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur cancelled his China visit over the visa denial.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also slammed China for violating the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules prohibiting discrimination against competitors from member-states.
"They did not allow our Athletes from Arunachal Pradesh to participate in Asian Games. As you can see I am not in China, I am in Coimbatore, standing with my players. And this discriminatory approach of a country that is against the Olympic Charter and is not acceptable at all," said Thakur to reporters on Sunday, asserting that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.
Former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also strongly condemned China's decision to deny visas to sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh, saying that the entire population of the state resolutely opposes China's claim on its land and called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take action.
Earlier, the Chinese embassy in Delhi issued stapled visas to the three athletes when a 12-member contingent was to travel for the World University Games in Chengdu. The trip was called off after India lodged a strong protest at the time.
China has refused to issue stamped visas to the athletes of Arunachal Pradesh in the past too. In 2011, five karatekas from Arunachal were given stapled visas to participate in a competition in Quanzhou. In April, India outrightly rejected China's renaming some places in Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that the state is an integral part of India and assigning "invented" names does not alter this reality.
(with inputs from ANI)