Open up space, advises Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor, a former minister of state for external affairs, favours the resumption of bilateral cricket exchanges with Pakistan.
Bilaterally, India and Pakistan have not played each other after January 2013. In other words, for close to six years.
As things stand, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has the Centre’s permission to play Pakistan in only International Cricket Council and Asian Cricket Council events.
“For India, to not be talking or not engaging at a bilateral level is not a policy... It’s an attitude,” Tharoor told The Telegraph on the sidelines of the launch of his latest book, The Paradoxical Prime Minister, in the city on Saturday.
A Congress member of the Lok Sabha (this is his second term), Tharoor chairs the Standing Committee on external affairs. He’s also, by the way, a former Under-Secretary-General of the UN.
Tharoor added: “My instinct says open up bilateral cricket, open up the system of issuing visas... Initially, at least open up specified categories...
“The approach on both sides has been restrictive, which is unfortunate... Let’s open up space.”
A cricket World Cup-winning captain, Imran Khan, is currently the Prime Minister of Pakistan. But, then, he obviously has other priorities and bigger issues to address.
Tharoor, incidentally, is expected to be at Eden Gardens on Sunday during the India vs West Indies T20I.
Meanwhile, asked if he’d present a copy of The Paradoxical Prime Minister to the central character, Narendra Modi, Tharoor grinned and replied: “I don’t think so.”
It’s not a surprise that The Paradoxical Prime Minister has irked the BJP, for Prime Minister Modi’s party loves to hate Tharoor.