Beijing, July 17 : China on Thursday denied the reports that it snubbed Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh by not inviting him for the Olympics opening ceremony, and added that Indian leaders were welcome to the event.
Beijing further clarified that it is the Olympic committee of the nation concerned which sends invitations to the head of the government or state.
"As the host of Beijing Olympics, China welcomes heads of states, including Indian leaders to attend the relevant activities," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular bi-weekly media briefing here.
He was answering a question on the reports in a section of the Indian press that China had invited United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to the opening ceremony of Olympics, while totally ignoring Prime Minister Dr. Singh.
"China attaches great importance to strategic partnership with India and exchanges with Indian leaders. The report is not in line with the fact and is not beneficial to our bilateral relations," he said.
He further added that the heads of states and governments have been invited to the Olympic Games.
"I would like to reiterate here that according to the IOC stipulation and the Olympic custom, heads of governments and states shall be invited by the Olympic Committees of their own countries and attend the Olympics as accredited distinguished guests. We respect the decision of the Olympic Committees," he said.