News / Asia

India-Pakistan Cricket Series Marks Detente

Indian cricket fans jostle for tickets for the second Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan in Ahmadabad, India, December 26, 2012.
Indian cricket fans jostle for tickets for the second Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan in Ahmadabad, India, December 26, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
The resumption of sporting ties between India and Pakistan with a series of cricket matches marks an improvement in bilateral ties between the South Asian rivals. The two countries have taken several steps this year to rebuild ties which suffered a setback after terror strikes in India’s financial hub four years ago.   

Cricket historian and author, Boria Majumdar, recalls several cricket matches between India and Pakistan when the cricket field resembled a battlefield. 

“Every time India plays Pakistan, automatically the cricket match tends to degenerate into a strength of national superiority. It is not a cricket match, it is actually war minus the shooting,” Majumdar said.
 
But as the South Asian rivals faced off for their first bilateral cricket series in five years in Bangalore on Tuesday, there was a difference.

The cricket series marks a thaw in the tense relations between the South Asian rivals. That thaw, says cricket historian Boria Majumdar, is evident. 

“I see this series being played in a decent environment. I see a sense of camaraderie between the players, players from both sides are friends of mine," noted Majumdar, "I know they like each other. It does promote people-to-people contact, it does promote enjoyment, New Year’s, festive season.”

  • Indian cricket fans with their faces painted with the colors of the Indian flag, wait to enter the Sardar Patel Stadium, venue of the second Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Ahmadabad, India, December 28, 2012.
  • Indian cricket fans wave towards a bus carrying Pakistani cricket players, outside the Sardar Patel Stadium, December 28, 2012.
  • Indian cricket fans wait to enter the Sardar Patel Stadium, December 28, 2012.
  • Indian cricket fans jostle for tickets for the second Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan in Ahmadabad, India, December 26, 2012.
  • An Indian cricket fan is joined by others as he waves the Indian flag outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012.
  • Indian security personnel stand guard as the bus transporting members of Indian cricket team arrives Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012.
  • A Pakistan cricket fan, Mohammad Bashir, center, of Chicago, holds a paper which reads 'Please I need one ticket India Pakistan match' as he stands in front of the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, December 24, 2012.
  • Indian cricket fans react to the camera as they line up to get inside the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012.
  • Spectators crowd outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012.


National passion

Cricket is a passion in both countries, and they have been playing each other in international meets. But these are the first bilateral cricket matches being played since India broke off sporting contacts with its neighbor following the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, mounted by Pakistan-based gunmen.

The resumption of sporting ties comes amid efforts by the South Asian rivals to move ahead with a peace process interrupted by those terror strikes.

The main focus this year has been on boosting trade links. The two countries recently liberalized their visa regime to make it easier for businessmen and other visitors to get travel documents.   India agreed to issue 3,000 visas to Pakistani fans to attend the cricket matches. Earlier this year, India also opened a huge customs depot along the land border in Punjab to facilitate truck traffic.

Both sides hope that improving trade and people-to-people contact will give momentum to the diplomatic process.  

Rapprochement

Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Salman Bashir, told a business meeting held in New Delhi last week that both countries should focus on improving ties.  

“Working the relationship is something that is extremely important, extremely delicate," Bashir said. "The key thing is to have that clarity of a shared vision. Without that shared vision, we can easily go wrong… so the conviction that good relations is not only in the interest of our two peoples, but also the region.”  

However, observers warn that it will take more than improved trade links and cricket matches to bridge the mistrust, which still remains high between the longtime rivals.

Cricket historian Boria Majumdar agrees.

“I also think that people from both countries want to see each other play. It is a very important rivalry," Majumdar said. "Having said that if people think that by playing cricket it will result in an improvement of bilateral relations and an improvement of political relations across the border, that is not going to happen. That is ascribing cricket too much of a potential, which it does not have.”

But for the time being, tens of thousands of excited cricket fans in India are waiting for the next match to be played in Ahmedabad on Friday. Pakistan has won the first match.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ssp from: USA
December 27, 2012 4:23 PM
India can do all the nice things it can to improve the bilateral relations but it is being widely regarded as a soft state that pretends to be a rising power. In essence, it does not have a strategic vision either in foreign relations, economics, military or any other area. The country has reached its peak. It will slowly disintegrate into multiple parts ruled by local thugs who call themselves democratic leaders. Pakistan is of course way ahead of its neighbor in these areas. It is already a FAILED state with mullahs and the military as well as corrupt politicians. It is just a case of Dumb and Dumber!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More