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India free to bid for international events after government gives written visa assurances to IOC

The Indian government has given written assurances to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that it will grant travel visas to all athletes who qualify to compete at events in the country.

The move means that India will once again be able to bid for and be awarded the rights to host major international events. The country had been suspended from doing so since February, when the IOC instructed all  international federations to suspend discussions with India over future events after India denied visas to two Pakistani athletes and one coach for the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack. 

The letter states that India will “permit all qualified athletes belonging to any National Olympic Committee recognised by [the] IOC or any national federation affiliated to [an] International Federation concerned to participate”, opening the doors for Pakistani athletes to once again compete on Indian soil.  

The IOC has said that it will not sanction events in countries that do not guarantee the freedom of all qualified athletes to compete. 

The dispute also affected the United World Wrestling junior world championships, which were supposed to take place in India next month but have been moved to Thailand after authorities could not confirm that Pakistani athletes would be allowed to enter India.

India has already declared a desire to host several major events in the coming years, including the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, for which it has submitted an official expression of interest to the IOC. It is also investigating bids for the 2026 Youth Summer Olympics and the 2030 Asian Games.

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