Even as Pakistan continues to send terrorists across the border into India to carry out attacks, talk has been mounting for holding a cricketing bilateral series between both the countries. However, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shut up all such possible talk with this tough message on New Year. Ruling out the possibility of a bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, even at a neutral venue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on Monday, said, ‘Cricket and terrorism can’t go hand-in-hand’. At a meeting of Parliament’s consultative committee on external affairs, Swaraj said a number of incidents of cross-border violations by Pakistan mean the atmosphere is not “conducive” to cricket diplomacy. 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 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’, as per the report. The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
The India-Pakistan cricket fixture has been off the international calendar for a while now. The last bilateral series between India and Pakistan held in December 2012 when Pakistan visited India for 3 ODIs and 2 T20s’. Earlier this year, the BCCI had also urged the ICC not to put the two teams in the same group in global tournaments. 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. India also objected the removal of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife’s mangal-sutra and condemned the order given to them to talk in English while their native language was Marathi.
Meanwhile, the Pulwama operation had concluded after the body of a third suspected militant was recovered. The operation reportedly came in the wake of a pre-dawn attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama district of south Kashmir that killed at least five jawans and injured at least another three on 31 December.