The refusal to grant visas to a three-member Pakistani contingent for the shooting World Cup in Delhi has resulted in India staring at international isolation.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced late Thursday night that it has suspended talks with the Indian government and country’s Olympic Association (IOA) for hosting sports events in the future after it accused the country of violating principles of ‘non-discrimination.’ Further, the IOC has also ‘recommended’ all international federations that they ‘neither award nor hold’ sports events in India until they receive written assurances from the Indian government that participants from all nations will be guaranteed entry.
A three-member Pakistani team, comprising two pistol shooters and a manager, was scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Wednesday for the shooting World Cup, which is also a qualifying event for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. However, the Pakistani team withdrew after they were not granted visas. While there has been no official statement from the Indian government, the International Shooting Sport Federation and National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) have claimed the visas have not been granted so far because of the terror strikes in Pulwama last week.
The IOC also took into consideration the recent incident where India did not grant visa to a boxer from Kosovo for the World Championship in Delhi last November. Consequently, India have been found guilty of violating the Olympic Charter. Rule 44 of the charter states that the National Olympic Committees (in this case, the IOA) ‘must… ensure that no one has been excluded for racial, religious or political reasons or by reason of other forms of discrimination.’
The IOC has been strict in this regard. There was a similar incident ahead of the Rio Olympics, when the IOC had revoked Olympic qualification status of the Asian Shooting Championship in November 2015 after Kuwait refused to grant visa to an Israeli delegate. Malaysia, too, was recently stripped of the hosting rights for the World Para Swimming Championship after denying visa to Israelis.
IOC’s decision to halt international sporting activities in India comes at a time when the country was considering to bid for the hosting rights of 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics. Those negotiations will be put on hold at the moment. There is also a cloud over the hockey Olympic qualifiers, scheduled to be held later this year. The hosting of 2021 World Boxing Championship, too, remains doubtful now.
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