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India skips Beijing Olympics opening due to torchbearer pick
NEW DELHI (AP) — India will not attend Friday's opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, after one of the torchbearers reportedly chosen by Chinese authorities riled up New Delhi's anger.
India's foreign affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi on Thursday said it was "regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicize an event like the Olympics."
The move followed reports in China's state-owned Global Times that a Chinese military commander, who was involved in deadly clashes with Indian border forces in 2020, had been chosen as one of many torchbearers charged with relaying the Olympics flame to Beijing.
The 2020 fighting erupted along the disputed border with China in eastern Ladakh. Chinese troops killed 20 Indian soldiers, while China said it lost four soldiers.
The spokesman added that the Indian Embassy in Beijing would also not send a representative to the closing ceremonies.
The U.S., along with several countries including Australia, Britain and Canada, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, citing China's human rights violations, while allowing their athletes to compete.
India has one athlete who's qualified to compete at the Games, according to spokesman Bagchi.