Bishkek impact lowers the heat

Since the terror strike in Pulwama, relations between India and Pakistan have been at their lowest since the Kargil War exactly 20 years ago

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi in Calcutta
  • Published 16.06.19, 2:54 AM
  • Updated 16.06.19, 2:54 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SCO Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on June 13, 2019. (AP)

That Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Imran Khan at least “exchanged pleasantries” on Friday, the second and final day of the SCO Summit in Bishkek, after giving each other the royal ignore on Day I, has lowered the bilateral temperature somewhat in the build-up to Sunday’s World Cup face-off at Old Trafford.

Ever since the February 14 terror strike in Pulwama, relations between India and Pakistan have been at their lowest since the Kargil War exactly 20 years ago.

In fact, the last time India and Pakistan faced each other in a World Cup match in England & Wales, was during Kargil. And in Manchester.

Even two decades later, India are yet to lose to Pakistan in the World Cup.

“Well, an India vs Pakistan match is what it is owing to the political needle between the neighbours...

“Where relations between the two Establishments go, there are bound to be good phases and bad...

“However, both India and Pakistan have to resume talking and it’s encouraging that the two Prime Ministers greeted each other in Bishkek,” Ramiz Raja, a former captain of Pakistan, told The Telegraph.

Tension was all too apparent during the 1999 showdown. This time, it’s bound to be less.

Where bilateral cricket ties go, there has not been a single match after January 2013. Such a freeze isn’t anything new, though.

It’s ironical, meanwhile, that the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s CEO Rahul Johri, who’d sent a poorly-authored and ill-advised letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) after Pulwama, would be among those present at Old Trafford!

At the behest of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, Johri had in effect called for the ouster of Pakistan from the world body, basically pointing out that it was a country “from which terrorism emanates.”

Naturally, the ICC paid no heed and the Board ended up with egg on its face. But that hasn’t stopped Johri and others from the Board to be present in strength in Manchester.