External Affairs

Modi Seeks to Improve Relations With Pakistan Via Cricket

New Delhi: Despite apprehensions raised by some BJP MPs about a proposed India-Pakistan cricket series, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to break the ice with the neighbouring country through “cricket diplomacy”, informed sources here said.

“We have taken the decision to start a cricket series between both countries to improve our relations,” said Modi on Tuesday during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentary party meeting, a BJP MP who was present told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Soon after a resolution was adopted appreciating initiatives taken by the Modi government during its first year in office, Modi said some of the members have expressed concern against the series and that is why he was “clearing the air”, said the source.

Party lawmaker R.K. Singh, a former union home secretary, had raised apprehension over the issue in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Cricketer-turned-BJP MP Kirti Azad had also opposed the move.

[Last week cricket officials from India and Pakistan met in Kolkata and agreed in principle that their teams would play a series of one day international games and three test matches in the United Arab Emirates later this year.]

At Modi’s meeting with BJP MPs, a resolution was passed appreciating the prime minister’s efforts for enhancing India’s image among the international community, the MP told IANS.

According to sources, only Modi spoke at the meeting. None of the MPs said anything this time, especially after Bharat Singh, a party MP from Uttar Pradesh, had criticized the government at the last parliamentary party meeting.