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India rejects cricket diplomacy

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Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said, in a meeting with Parliament’s consultative committee, that a bilateral cricket series with Pakistan is not possible, even on a neutral venue until Pakistan stops cross border firing and cease-fire violations. Swaraj accused Pakistan of 800 cross border violations in the last year. The minister said that terrorism and cricket can’t go hand in hand.

She also said that she had met Pakistan’s envoy to India and proposed that both countries release their prisoners above 70 years of age or women or people of unsound mind on humanitarian grounds. Pakistan and India played their last bilateral series in December 2012 when the Pakistani team visited India. The BCCI has also asked the ICC to not place India and Pakistan in the same group in international tournaments.

India needs to realize the importance of ‘cricket diplomacy’ and rather than closing venues for dialogue, it should open them for the survival and prosperity of the region.

India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of terrorism within its borders. Pakistan made multiple attempts to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. The Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav who was caught in Baluchistan last year was allowed to meet his mother and wife on the basis of humanitarianism. Pakistan also released 145 Indian fishermen a few days ago as a gesture of goodwill, but no similar attempts were made from the Indian side.

The statement by the Indian Foreign minister seems to be based on prejudice rather than fact. Pakistan successfully held the PSL (Pakistan Super League) final in Lahore last year which consisted of many international players. Later that year, the Sri Lankan cricket team also visited Pakistan for a T20I series; laying waste to the Indian claim that Pakistan is not a safe country to play cricket.

Pakistan and India played their last bilateral series in December 2012 when the Pakistani team visited India.

The West Indian team is also expected to visit Pakistan in 2018, further reinforcing the claim that Pakistan is safe for international cricket. Even if the claims of the Indian foreign minister that Pakistan is not a safe country for the Indian team to visit were accepted, there is no reason why the both teams cannot play on a neutral ground. It only proves that the Indian government has a bias against Pakistan and wants to ostracize it in the international arena.

India has failed to back its claims with evidence, whether they are regarding terrorism or the handing over of Hafiz Saeed. India could not provide substantial evidence against Saeed over his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. On the other hand, Pakistan captured an Indian spy Khulbushan Yadav from its own soil.

India has repeatedly accused Pakistan of terrorism within its borders.

He has since confessed to his crimes and pleaded guilty. The atrocities committed by the Indian army in Kashmir, which include the murder of Kashmiri youth Burhan Wani and the use of pellet guns which are banned by the UN, lay waste to the peace claim by the Indian government.

Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers and any hostility has the potential to escalate to a nuclear war. With the spectre of a nuclear holocaust always haunting both nations, the need for friendly relations is indispensable and there is no better way to strength ties than to hold a bilateral sports tournament.

India needs to realize the importance of ‘cricket diplomacy’ and rather than closing venues for dialogue, it should open them for the survival and prosperity of the region. There is nothing to gain from the endless fighting between the two nations other than blood and tears. 


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