Anurag Thakur has cancelled his visit to Hangzhou 2022 ©Getty Images

Indian Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has cancelled his scheduled visit to China following a visa dispute that has seen three wushu athletes left behind from the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.

China offered Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega, and Mepung Lamgu stapled visas which India does not accept as it views it as discriminatory, as reported by Times of India.

The trio are from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh which China claims sovereignty over and included as part of its territory in its latest standard map, naming it as Zangnan.

The two countries have disputed over the regions for years and even come to blows, with 24 soldiers from both sides dying in a skirmish in 2020.

"In line with our long-standing and consistent position, India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on the basis of domicile or ethnicity," read an Indian Ministry of External Affairs statement.

"A strong protest has been lodged in New Delhi and Beijing against China's deliberate and selective obstruction of some of our sportspersons.

"China's action violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states.

Disputes between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh have resulted in deaths after military clashes on the border ©Getty Images
Disputes between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh have resulted in deaths after military clashes on the border ©Getty Images

"Further, as a mark of our protest against the Chinese action, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and Youth Affairs and Sports of India has cancelled his scheduled visit to China for the Games.

"Government of India reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard our interests."

The trio were supposed to fly from New Delhi to Hong Kong before finally arriving in Hangzhou, but were left behind and have been brought back to the Sports Authority of India hostel in the capital's Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium.

The Olympic Council of Asia has confirmed that it is taking the matter up with the Chinese Government, but the latter is seemingly immovable in its view.

"As the host country, China welcomes athletes from all countries to come to Hangzhou to participate in the Asian Games with legal documents," said the nation's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

"As to the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh', the Chinese government doesn't recognise it.

"Zangnan is part of China's territory."

Wushu at Hangzhou 2022 is set to run from September 24 to 28 at the Guali Cultural and Sports Centre.

It is thought that by issuing the temporary stapled visas to those from Arunachal Pradesh, China is attempting to undermine India's claim over Arunachal Pradesh.

A similar situation occurred at the World University Games earlier this year in China. 

India withdrew its eight-athlete wushu team from competition in Chengdu after the Government only offered the stapled visas to the same three athletes.