India boxer Vijender Singh offers to return belt for China peace

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Vijender Singh won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics

An Indian boxer who beat a Chinese rival has offered to return the championship belt he won as peace gesture, amid a tense border stand-off.

Vijender Singh, an Olympic medallist, beat Zulpikar Maimaitiali on Saturday, winning the WBO Oriental Super Middleweight belt from him.

But he dedicated his win to the "India-China friendship", and said he wanted to give the belt back.

India and China have been feuding over a disputed border area since June.

The row erupted when India opposed China's attempt to extend a border road through a plateau known as Doklam in India and Donglang in China.

Mr Singh, 31, has been widely praised in India for his win in the much-anticipated fight in Mumbai.

But some appear not to share his message of reconciliation.

"Chinese met a grand defeat in Mumbai and same will happen in Doklam," a yoga guru and businessman called Baba Ramdev tweeted.

It is unclear if the Chinese competitor has responded to the offer, or if competition officials would allow the belt to be returned.

The disputed plateau lies at a junction between China, the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim and Bhutan.

It is currently disputed between China and Bhutan. India supports Bhutan's claim over it.

India is concerned that if the road is completed, it will give China greater access to India's strategically vulnerable "chicken's neck", a 20km (12-mile) wide corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland.

On Thursday China's defence ministry warned India that it would not back down.

More on this story