Bollywood actor Aamir Khan said he sympathises with Tibetan activists and does not support China's recent crackdown on protests there.

But the actor said he still plans to run in the Olympic torch relay later this month in New Delhi. Aamir made the comments in a statement posted on his blog in response to fans who asked him not to take part.

The actor said while he respected the Tibetan people's struggle, he believed the Olympic Games represented an opportunity for people around the world to come together despite their differences.

"When I do run with the torch on April 17, it is not in support of China," he said. "In fact it will be with a prayer in my heart for the people of Tibet, and indeed for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations."

The 137,000-kilometre torch relay has become a lightning rod for controversy in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.

China envisions the games as a way to showcase its growing economic and political clout, but they have also focussed attention on the country's human rights record following deadly protests last month in Tibet.

Aamir's statement came the same day country's football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, a Buddhist from an Indian region with ancient ties to Tibet, announced he would not be taking part in the relay.

Bhutia is reported to be the first athlete to decline a role in the relay because of the Tibet crackdown.

A Thai torchbearer, an environmental activist, withdrew from the relay last month for similar reasons.

In February, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg withdrew as an artistic adviser to the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, citing the crisis in Darfur and China's support for the Sudanese government.

The Olympic torch arrived in Beijing on Monday after demonstrations by a pro-Tibetan group during its passage from Ancient Olympia in Greece. Protests are expected in several major cities during the torch's 20-nation tour.