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Sushma Swaraj Rules Out India-Pak Series at Neutral Venue, Cites Ceasefire Violations

File photo of  Union Minister Sushma Swaraj.

File photo of Union Minister Sushma Swaraj.

At a meeting of the ministry’s consultative committee, Swaraj said high incidents of cross-border violations by Pakistan mean the atmosphere is not “conducive” for cricket diplomacy.

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has ruled out the possibility of a bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, even at a neutral venue.

At a meeting of Parliament's consultative committee on external affairs, Swaraj said high incidents of cross-border violations by Pakistan mean the atmosphere is not “conducive” for cricket diplomacy.

The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

During the meeting, Swaraj also said that she had met Pakistan's envoy to India and proposed to him that both countries release the prisoners who are above 70 years of age or women or of unsound mind as part of humanitarian aspect of the relationship, a member who was present in the meeting said. The agenda of the meeting was 'Relationship with the Neighbourhood'.

Tensions escalated between India and Pakistan towards the end of 2017 over the treatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother in Islamabad, and repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

The two arch-rivals last participated in a bilateral series in December 2012 when Pakistan visited India for a limited overs series that included three One-Day Internationals (ODI) and two Twenty20 Internationals.

India have not played Pakistan in a full bilateral series since 2007 when Pakistan visited India to play five ODIs and a one-off Test match.

However, worsening political ties and intermittent violence on the border have stalled any further bilateral cricket between the two countries.

Earlier this year, the BCCI had also urged the ICC not to put the two teams in the same group in global tournaments.

(With agency inputs)

first published:January 01, 2018, 12:42 IST