No pause in India-Pakistan cricket ties

June 3rd, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) India may have paused talks with Pakistan after 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But the two cricket-crazy nations have decided not to let their diplomatic standoff get in the way of a good cricket match.
“How can we deny ourselves the pleasure of a good India-Pakistan cricket match? Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters when asked whether the ongoing tensions have affected cricketing ties between the two countries.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was circumspect, saying it was for the sports ministry to decide. Sports Minister M.S. Gill, however, sounded upbeat about the T20 match, the first cricketing encounter between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.

“The match is on…It is good as we should play, and not fight,” said Gill. “Tonight I will find out how they are performing,” he added.

The comments came even as India and Pakistan played a T20 cricket match in Britain a day after New Delhi voiced its disappointment at the release of Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind behind 26/11 Mumbai carnage by a Pakistan high court.

A good cricket match, India feels, is part of its strategy to keep people-to-people relations going despite ups and downs in its political relations.

“We seek action against perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and we seek dismantling of the infrastructure of terrorism,” Menon said.

“But we don’t hold ordinary people of Pakistan responsible for it. That’s why we have not stopped train and bus links,” he said.

Unlike the attack on parliament in December 2001, India has not suspended bus and rail links to keep the flow of people-to-people contacts that it sees as the bedrock of a healthy bilateral relationship.

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