Delhi and Beijing had said earlier that 70 events, 35 in each country, would be held to celebrate the anniversary. It included a trip by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China for his third informal summit. After the outbreak of Covid-19, which originated in Wuhan, celebrations were put on hold. Later, any chance of celebration suffered a setback following PLA’s incursions into the India in eastern Ladakh.
For the record, the celebrations have not been officially cancelled. “Celebrations have not been officially cancelled. However, due to outbreak of Covid-19 and worsening of situation conditions were not conducive to hold the events,” Dinesh Patnaik, DG, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) told ET. ICCR was the nodal body from India to hold a number of events. Some similar celebrations with other countries in 2020 were also put on hold due to Covid-19.
China’s State Post Bureau cancelled its plan to jointly launch commemorative stamps with India, state-run CGTN-TV reported on December 8, quoting a statement by the bureau without mentioning the date of the event.
India clarified on the event, after Beijing tried to blame New Delhi: “Joint release of commemorative stamps to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and China was one of the activities agreed with Chins last year. However, there had been no discussion on any launch date with any Chinese authorities for this activity,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. “We have also seen the Chinese embassy’s tweet suggesting that this event was cancelled by the Chinese side on account of no feedback given by the Indian side before the launch time agreed by both — this is factually incorrect.”
The events planned included a joint flag-off of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a ‘Beautiful China’ photo exhibition in India and an ‘Incredible India’ photo exhibition in China, music and dance festivals, sinology conference, India-China civilisational talks, film festivals, hackathons, business events, Buddhist events, trade fairs, fashion shows and food festivals. Celebrations for the ‘Bathing the Buddha Festival’ in China, a Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar Forum in China, India-China audio-visual weeks in both countries, campaigns to promote Ayurveda and Chinese traditional medicine, and martial art exchanges between the countries were also planned as part of the celebrations.