India on Friday filed a formal protest against China's "deliberate and selective obstruction of sportspersons" after Beijing denied visas and accreditation to athletes from Arunachal Pradesh.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur has cancelled his visit to China. Kiren Rijiju, Mr Thakur's cabinet colleague and who is an Arunachal Pradesh MP, told reporters he "strongly condemns this illegal (and) illegitimate action... China has no right to deny the entry of people from Arunachal Pradesh".
"We are condemning China's act but the International Olympic Committee should condemn it as well. They should not sit quietly because such acts may be an injustice to players in future as well," he said.
"In protest, Sports Minister's visit to Beijing for opening ceremony is cancelled. No official will visit."
According to news agency ANI, two athletes - Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu - cleared by the Hangzou Asian Games' organising committee were unable to download accreditation cards that double as visas.
A third - Nyeman Wangsu - downloaded the accreditation but was then denied entry.
"... India has learnt that Chinese authorities have, in a targeted and pre-meditated manner, discriminated against some Indian sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh by denying them accreditation and entry to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China," the government said today.
"In line with our long-standing and consistent position, India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on basis of domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
Mr Bagchi said the government had lodged a strong protest in New Delhi and Beijing over China's "deliberate and selective obstruction" of Indian athletes. He said the government had noted that these actions "violate both the spirit of the Asian Games and rules governing their conduct".
India "reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard (its) interests", Mr Bagchi added.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh - which it calls South Tibet - as its territory.
Last month, in a move that drew international criticism, the Chinese issued a new "standard" map that included the north-eastern state and the Aksai Chin region in eastern Ladakh within its boundaries
READ | China Provokes India, Includes Arunachal In New "Standard Map".
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar summarily dismissed the "map", telling NDTV in an exclusive interview that Beijing has a "habit" of releasing such maps. "... this doesn't change in anything. Our government is very clear about what (is) our territory," he said and called the claims "absurd".
READ | "Absurd Claims Don't Make..." S Jaishankar To NDTV On China's New Map
China waved away India's objections and called the map "the normal exercise of sovereignty..."