Shooting World Cup: When diplomacy hits the shooting range

China and Taiwan have been locked in a diplomatic rivalry for decades. Thus the need of missive from India to Chinese Taipei and vice versa

Written by Mihir Vasavda | New Delhi | Updated: February 28, 2017 9:34 am
Indian athletes too have been issued a missive on Taiwan. (Express photo)

In a bid to not ruffle feathers of China, India has asked Taiwan shooters not to engage in any political activity during the World Cup, currently underway at the Karni Singh Shooting Range. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), under the orders of the Ministry of External Affairs, has issued guidelines to the Chinese Taipei contingent, listing down a series of do’s and don’ts during the week-long tournament being held in India after 14 years.

Similarly, Indian athletes too have been issued a missive on Taiwan. The six-member team that compete as ‘Chinese Taipei’ in international events as per the International Olympic Committee (IOC) directive has been refrained from calling itself ‘Republic of China’. “In team events, the term used should be Chinese Taipei or China Taipei. The term Republic of China shall not be used in any context,” the guideline says, adding: “There shall be no display of the national flag, country nameplate, national emblem or singing of the national anthem of the Republic of China.”

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China and Taiwan have been locked in a diplomatic rivalry for decades. China has also opposed diplomatic relations with Taiwan by countries with whom it has political ties. Hence, India hasn’t had diplomatic relations with Taiwan, adhering to the One China policy.Beijing is sensitive to Taiwan being referred to as “Republic of China”, and hence wants it to be referred to as part of the “People’s Republic of China”. To compete at the World Cup, the NRAI has asked Taiwan athletes to maintain low profile. “The Taiwanese sportsmen shall not engage in any political activity or attract undue publicity; the Taiwanese participation shall not be political in nature,” the guidelines say.

Likewise, there are a number of requirements for an Indian athlete travelling to Taiwan as well. Indians, too, have been advised not to refer to them as ‘Republic of China’. The order added: “Indian delegates shall not be involved in non-sporting activities conducted during the tournament by official authorities of Taiwan. While in Taiwan, they shall keep a low profile and abjure press interviews and activities, which may be interpreted as being of a political nature.” NRAI president Raninder Singh said they received the orders from the MEA and were bound to pass it on to the athletes. “We received it from the MEA. When we go abroad, we are ambassadors of the country and are bound by certain conventions and rules. So if we get a flier from them, we are bound to convey it to our athletes,” he told The Indian Express.

Chinese Taipei is yet to win a medal at the World Cup. Their best result came in the 10m air pistol event, where Yu Ai Wen came fourth with 196.5 points, followed by compatriot Tien Chia Chen with 175.6.

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