February 18, 2020
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Suresh Kalmadi

On reviving sporting ties between India and Pakistan

Suresh Kalmadi
Suresh Kalmadi
Was it your decision that India will participate in the SAARC games to be held in Islamabad in 2003?
I went to Islamabad as president of the Indian Olympic Association. But the Indian government gave me permission to go. It shows they are not averse to the games.

Why should India play games with Pakistan?
I think sports and politics should never be mixed.

But India has taken a definite stand against playing cricket with Pakistan.
The ice has broken. SAARC games have hockey, football, athletics...

Not cricket?
I am sure cricket will also follow.

What does Bal Thackeray have to say about this?
Why should he have a problem? Let us see.

But politics/sports has got mixed up in the past.
While I was there, Imran Khan protested against sporting ties with India. So I said: "This is the politician talking, not the sportsman."

Thackeray is no sportsman. How will you convince him?
Well, sports is not politics.

What about your other political problem—Uma Bharati?
She is ok. She is the one who told the press that Mr Kalmadi is going to Islamabad to break the ice on Indo-Pak ties.

Would you say that now the ice has broken with all those who matter in Islamabad?

And has the ice broken with the Indian sports minister?
(Laughs) Because of the Afro-Asian games, we got to know each other better and are now very good friends?

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