It is time India stood up to China and called its bluff.
It is an old saying that while there is too much politics in sport there is too little sport in politics. As if to remind us of its validity, China has played a silly old game with India in granting stapled visas to three athletes from Arunachal Pradesh who were members of the Indian wushu team to the World University Games in Chengdu.
An obstinate China insists on playing these puerile tricks on the grounds that it makes an imaginary territorial claim to Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh. The staple visa exercise has been pulled out of a forgotten chest of drawers, but in doing so in the year of the Asian Games, which it is hosting in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8, China is giving India a convenient handle.
It is time India stands up to this Chinese habit of irritating the world with its various territorial claims, as if there were not problems enough in all the land it holds already, including Xinjiang which came into Chinese control only in 1949 after a brief period of independence ended and yet is the focus of global attention for the discrimination practised there against Uighur Muslims.
If China plays the same game of stapled visa with any athlete from India who might qualify for the Asian Games, India should be prepared to pull out its entire contingent and boycott the Games. It might be harsh on athletes who have been training for years aiming for medals in the Asian Games, which come not only with great national pride but considerable monetary prizes these days.
It would be a small sacrifice on behalf of the nation if India were to be insulted again with such unsustainable claims over territory in the 21st century. It is time India stood up to China and called its bluff, including the latest one over the Chinese President Xi Jinping wanting to normalise ties with India when his PLA is breathing fire on the border.