United Nations, Nov 22 (IANS) Two days after the Cricket World Cup final, India has absented itself from voting on a General Assembly resolution on sports promoting “understanding among peoples and nations”.
Being absent during the voting on Tuesday does not amount to a formal abstention as it is not put on record.
The resolution, “Building a Peaceful and Better World through Sport and the Olympic Ideal”, was adopted with 118 votes while only Russia and Syria formally abstained.
India’s UN Mission did not respond to an IANS query about the absence.
The Assembly session was sparsely attended and 73 countries had stayed away.
The resolution said, “Sports can contribute to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding among peoples and nations.”
Sponsored by France, it tied the resolution to the Paris Olympics next year and called for an international truce for the event in a tradition going back to 776 BCE when the ancient Greeks stopped fighting during the games.
The truce is “to ensure the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all other accredited persons” attending the “Olympics and the Paralympic Games,” the resolution said.
It also called for ensuring the safety of the Games.
“Sports can play to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism” and build “resilience against radicalisation to violence and terror recruitment,” it added.
Introducing the resolution on behalf of France, Tony Estanguet, the President of the Paris 2024 Olympic Organising Committee, said, “The games are the best incarnation of the powers of sport because they bring together tolerance, respect and sharing as values throughout the world.”
The Olympics show that “it is possible to live in harmony and in respect of other people,” said Estanguet, a former Olympic athlete.
However, rancour and politics crept in.
Russia’s delegate complained that there was a “dangerous trend of political interference in sport and of turning it into an instrument for exerting political pressure”.
“Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes are being stripped of their dreams for which they’ve lived and worked” of competing under their own country’s flag, she said.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that ensuring non-discrimination and political neutrality in international sports competitions is “crucial for building a better and more peaceful world through sport”.
But he countered Russia’s complaint, saying that it was suspended because it violated the Olympic Charter by including athletes from regions of Ukraine it had invaded and infringing on the territorial integrity of that country’s Olympic committee.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com and followed at @arulouis)