Pakistan on Thursday pulled out of the Chess Olympiad being held in Tamil Nadu, prompting India to hit out at the neighbouring country for “politicising" the sporting event.
Hours after Pakistan announced its withdrawal over the Olympiad’s torch relay passing through Jammu and Kashmir, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said it was “highly unfortunate" that Pakistan has “politicised" the prestigious international event.
Bagchi asserted that the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh “have been, are, and will remain an integral part of India."
“It was the politicisation of the event," Bagchi said, referring to Pakistan’s decision.
Pakistan was invited by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad being held in Mamallapuram near Chennai from July 28 to August 10.
“It is surprising that Pakistan has suddenly taken the decision of not participating in the FIDE Chess Olympiad, particularly after the team has already reached India," Bagchi said.
The spokesperson was responding to questions on Pakistan’s decision to boycott the Olympiad, citing the torch relay of the event passing through Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is highly unfortunate that Pakistan has politicised the prestigious international event by making such statements and withdrawing its participation," he said.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Foreign Ministry announced its decision to boycott the Olympiad.
“Pakistan condemns India’s mischievous attempt to mix politics with sports. As a protest, Pakistan has decided not to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad and will also raise the matter with the International Chess Federation at the highest level," it said in a statement.
To a separate question, Bagchi said Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK) is part of India and it rejects any comment that does not “reflect this reality".