June 21 (UPI) -- The International Olympic Committee lifted a ban Thursday that's kept India from bidding for Olympic events, after its government promised to grant visas to all athletes competing at such competitions.
The ban was imposed in February after India blocked visas for two Pakistani shooters who wanted to compete in the 25-meter rapid fire event at the World Cup in New Delhi. India denied their visas in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack that killed 40 military personnel. A similar incident happened last year when boxers from Kosovo were denied visas for the world women's championship.
At the time, the IOC said India's discriminatory practices against world athletes goes against the spirit of the Olympic games and blocked the country from hosting an Olympic event.
This week, India provided a written guarantee to the IOC that it would allow entry for all qualifying athletes.
"With this letter, the principle of non-discrimination of athletes and teams participating in any future international sports event in India will be fully respected, so that all eligible athletes and sporting delegations ... will be allowed to enter the country," said James MacLeod, director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations.
India has never hosted the Summer or Winter Olympics.
The announcement came just days before the IOC is set to announce the host of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. The governing body will choose Monday between joint bids from Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, and Stockholm-Are, Sweden. Stockholm hosted the Winter Games in 1912 and Cortina in 1956.