Chess Olympiad
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Pakistan boycotts Chess Olympiad in Chennai; India says decision ‘highly unfortunate’

A team from Pakistan pulled out of the Chess Olympiad being held in Tamil Nadu after landing here, leading to both New Delhi and Islamabad accusing each other of politicising the sporting event.

“Surprising that Pakistan suddenly took the decision not to participate in the Chess Olympiad, particularly after its team reached India. It is highly unfortunate that Pakistan politicised a prestigious international event,’’ said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Pakistan’s sudden announcement earlier in the day over a torch relay for the Olympiad that took place a week back in Srinagar.

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A Pakistan Foreign Office statement regretted that India has chosen to politicise the Olympiad by passing the event’s torch relay of this event through Srinagar on June 21.  Besides boycotting the Olympiad, the statement said the matter will be raised with the International Chess Federation at the “highest level’’.

Chess Olympiad

Bagchi also reiterated that the UTs of J&K and Ladakh “have been, are and will remain an integral part of India.’ Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

Pakistan said, “by passing the torch relay through J&K K, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged ‘disputed’ status of the territory, India has committed a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances.’’

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