Beijing will become the first city to host the summer and winter Olympics on Friday, with a magnificent opening ceremony to kick off the fortnight-long tournament.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will proclaim the games open in a ceremony at the Bird’s Nest National Stadium. The stadium was built for and debuted the summer Olympics in 2008. The elaborate opening ceremony, like in 2008, is directed by acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
India’s envoy will not attend the opening or closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, which begin Friday in Beijing, citing Beijing’s decision to choose a Chinese soldier implicated in the Galwan incident as an Olympic torchbearer as “regrettable.”
This effectively implies that New Delhi will boycott the Olympics diplomatically, despite sending an athlete to the Games.
The Galwan hostilities in mid-June 2020 killed 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, while China confirmed in the year to lose at least four men, making it the worst confrontation between the two countries in almost four decades.
In response to queries about a Chinese soldier from the Galwan conflicts being picked as the games’ torchbearer, Ministry of External Affairs official spokeswoman Arindam Bagchi stated, “It is definitely regretful that the Chinese side has chosen to politicise an occasion like the Olympics… The Charge d’Affaires of the Indian Embassy in Beijing will not attend either the opening or closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, five Central Asian Presidents, Singapore President Halimah Yacob, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be among those in attendance for Friday’s inauguration.
Because of human rights violations in Xinjiang, the United States and the United Kingdom have announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the games while athletes compete. On Thursday, India announced that it would not be formally represented at the opening and closing ceremonies.
Both, according to Mr. Putin, are “actively engaging on the widest agenda within BRICS, the Russia-India-China framework, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and other international frameworks.”
Mr. Khan will meet with Mr. Xi and Premier Li Keqiang and “will review the whole gamut of bilateral ties, with a special focus on deeper trade and economic cooperation, particularly the China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry. “They will also have a wide-ranging exchange of views on significant regional and international problems,” a statement said, adding that the visit will “renew the bilateral resolve to pushing Pakistan and China’s ironclad cooperation to new heights.”