Earlier today, India announced it will be joining the US-led diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing after China included a soldier involved in the 2020 Galwan valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops. Qi Fabao, will be one of the torchbearers at the Opening Ceremonies. He is a PLA officer and back in 2020 served as a regimental commander in the Xinjiang Military Command. He suffered a considerable head injury in the Galwan skirmish. After learning of Qi’s inclusion, the Indian Foreign Ministry announced that its senior envoy to Beijing will not attend the Olympic ceremonies.
The US, Britain, Australia, and Canada are the core members of the diplomatic boycott with a number of other countries such as Denmark and Japan also refusing to send diplomats, ostensibly due to COVID-19 fears. Beijing has accused the US of politicizing sports with the boycott and vowed Washington “will pay a price for its erroneous actions.”
India’s decision to join the boycott, as well as China’s decision to include Qi Fabao in the Opening Ceremonies, threatens to shove the still-simmering border standoff and subsequent military buildup to the front burner. Chinese officials have not yet responded to India’s announcement, but this will change at some point soon, most likely. With China now on the center stage, Beijing will remain on guarded behavior, yet once the games end, it will react to India’s slight.