India’s Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, has reiterated the country’s long-standing position on not engaging in bilateral cricket matches with Pakistan until cross-border terrorism ceases. The strained diplomatic relations between the two nations have led to the suspension of bilateral cricket ties for several years, with matches limited to international events such as those organized by the ICC and continental competitions.
Anurag Thakur, India’s Sports Minister, affirmed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had previously decided not to engage in bilateral cricket matches with Pakistan unless cross-border terrorism and infiltration ceased. He emphasized that this stance resonates with the sentiments of ordinary citizens in India, reflecting the broader national perspective.
“BCCI had already made the decision that bilateral matches with Pakistan would not take place unless they stopped cross-border terrorism and infiltration. I believe this is the feeling of every regular citizen of this country,” Thakur said.
Recent incidents, including a tragic loss of life in a gunfight involving an Army Colonel, a Major, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police from the Jammu and Kashmir Police in a confrontation with militants, have once again spotlighted the contentious issue of India-Pakistan cricket ties. While such events have escalated tensions, India’s position on the matter remains unchanged.
The Indian men’s cricket team is currently participating in the Asia Cup 2023, held in Sri Lanka. Notably, they have faced Pakistan twice in this tournament. Originally, the Asia Cup was slated to take place entirely in Pakistan, but the BCCI cited a lack of permission from the Indian government and decided not to send its team.
In response to India’s decision, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) threatened to boycott the 2023 ODI World Cup. However, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) eventually brokered a compromise. Some Asia Cup matches were held in Pakistan, while others took place in Sri Lanka. India, however, played all of its matches in Sri Lanka.
Pakistan’s journey in the Asia Cup ended in a thrilling last-ball defeat to Sri Lanka, effectively eliminating them from the final race. Consequently, Sri Lanka is set to face India in the title clash on Sunday, marking an exciting culmination of the tournament.
The reaffirmation of India’s stance on bilateral cricket matches with Pakistan underscores the intertwining of sports and diplomacy in the region. While cricket enthusiasts on both sides of the border may yearn for the resumption of cricketing ties, political and security concerns continue to cast a shadow over such endeavors.