Sports

No Bilateral India-Pakistan Cricket Till They Stop Cross-Border Terrorism: Anurag Thakur

The sports minister’s remarks came after two Indian Army officers and a deputy superintendent of J&K police were killed in a gunfight with terrorists in Anantnag district on Wednesday.

Anurag Thakur press conference in Delhi
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Union sports minister Anurag Thakur said on Friday that India will not play any bilateral cricket matches with Pakistan unless the latter “stops carrying out attacks across the border”. (More Cricket News)

Thakur also said that the Indian cricket board (BCCI) had already decided earlier to not resume bilateral cricket relations with Pakistan.

Thakur, a former BCCI president, told reporters in Rajasthan's Udaipur: "The BCCI decided long ago that it will not play any bilateral matches with Pakistan until they stop terrorism. We will not resume our cricketing ties with Pakistan unless they stop carrying out attacks across the border or infiltration incidents."

“This is in line with the sentiments of Indian citizens,” he added.

The sports minister’s remarks came amid a growing chorus for India to cut off its cricketing ties with Pakistan after two Indian Army officers and a deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir police were killed in a gunfight with terrorists in the Kokernag area of Kashmir’s Anantnag district, which has now entered its third day.

Thakur termed the gunfight in Anantnag as "unfortunate" and said that a “befitting reply” would be given to the terrorists.

"What has happened in Kashmir is unfortunate and very sad. We will give the terrorists a befitting reply," he said.

India has made it clear on previous occasions that it would engage with Pakistan only if it stopped carrying out terrorist activities across the border.

The terrorism incident on Wednesday has further soured relations between the two countries. The last time India and Pakistan faced off in a bilateral series was in 2012-13, amid strained ties. Since then, both countries have played each other only in ICC events and the Asia Cup.

India last toured Pakistan for a bilateral series in 2006.

Last month, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had announced that India will not travel to Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023, citing "political tensions". The tournament was supposed to be played in Pakistan.

In response, Pakistan threatened to pull out of the ICC Men's World Cup, scheduled to be held in October and November in India.

Nevertheless, the Asia Cup is now being held in a hybrid model, with two host nations. Some of the games are being played in Pakistan and the remaining ones in Sri Lanka, with India playing all its matches in the latter country.

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