इंडियन आवाज़     27 Sep 2023 11:53:02      انڈین آواز


Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh too took full advantage of the ICC world cup to show India’s magnanimity to the world community.

As soon as it becomes clear that two cricket frenzy nations would clash in the semi-final in Mohali, Dr Singh quickly sent invitation to the Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Gilani responded quickly and visited the PCA stadium along with Dr. Singh where two arch rivals in cricket were struggling to get a place in the final of World cup.

Presence of two prime ministers for long hours at the stadium was enough to tell the world that the two nations are mature enough to resolve their misunderstandings bilaterally.   The message from Mohali was that people of both countries want peace and amity and both the PMs would work for it.

Cricket diplomacy has also been tried in the past, with mixed results. President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan attended an India-Pakistan match in 1987, but relations between the countries soon deteriorated. In 2005, Mr. Singh invited President Pervez Musharraf to an India-Pakistan match in New Delhi. Musharraf visit culminated in agreement on several issues between the two countries.

Gilani visit too have enhanced a feeling of goodwill on both sides. India won the World Cup semifinal match against Pakistan but off the field, it was a win for both India and Pakistan as the cricket diplomacy clearly worked after two failed attempts in the past.

As India and Pakistan battled on the cricket pitch, Manmohan Singh made a point to his guest Yusuf Raza Gilani that his ancestors had a role in laying the foundations of the Golden Temple in Amritsar and that the camaraderie could continue.

Mr. Singh, while hosting a dinner for Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at Mohali’s PCA stadium clearly said that both India and Pakistan should put their ancient animosities behind to attend to the problems facing their nations.

Singh said:  “We have the will to persevere — we have the will to overcome. We should be working together to find cooperative solutions, need permanent reconciliation to live together in dignity and honour,”.

Having last met at Thimphu during the SAARC Summit almost a year ago, Singh and Gilani spent close to five hours together in the stadium.

Before the Singh–Gilani interactions at Mohali, the home secretary level meetings that began Monday in New Delhi was the initial step in this latest resumption of the dialogue. Qamar Zaman, the Pakistani interior secretary, and G. K. Pillai, the Indian home secretary meeting reflected that the bilateral relations between two neighbours seem to be moving towards a positive direction as both the countries have defined institutional format for deeper engagement. Both the countries agreed to set up a Hotline between Home Secretary of India and Interior Secretary of Pakistan for facilitating real time information sharing relating to terrorist threats.

Pakistan also provided some updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. It conveyed its, readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a Judicial Commission from India relating to Mumbai terror attack investigations. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) of India and the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) of Pakistan will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai terror attack investigations.

Both the countries also agreed to remain engaged on outstanding issues and for ironing out the differences Home/Interior Secretary Level Talks would be held bi-annually.

The relationship between two immediate South Asian neighbours has seen many ups and downs. However the recent composite dialogue was another effort to bring back the derailed relationship on an institutional track for engagement.

Cricket lovers and people on either side of the border are eagerly waiting how the cricket diplomacy would shape the future relationship between the two countries as Dr. Singh and Gilani have raised much hope among their people.


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