The India-Pakistan series is little beyond an idea shared by two cricketing boards to capitalise monetarily on what is the most anticipated match up in the world of cricket. We have had cricket ties i
n the past and they have done little to improve diplomatic relations between the two nations, barring provide a temporary reprieve whose effects are reversed soon enough. The matches provide temporary escapism like most sports, but they rarely can achieve what needs to be done diplomatically.
The statements by Pakistan Minister Rehman Malik shows that diplomatic ties with Pakistan will not improve any time soon. Terror groups acting against India and Pakistan’s inability to act on it should see some reprisal from India apart from wringing its hands over the matter. Peace between the two countries is both welcome and necessary, but letting everything pass in good spirit just to seem moderate cannot be good in the long run. Playing the series or not playing is unlikely to impact India-Pakistan ties in any real manner, India might as well use the occasion to send a message.
Sports and politics must be delinked. It cannot be that, every time there is a political difference between two countries, we question sporting links. India and Pakistan have diplomatic ties, and it i
s in this area that political issues need to be resolved. Countries at war with each other have taken part in the Olympic Games. Indeed, according to the Olympic charter, there is no place for politics. The 1936 Olympics, for example, were held despite the Nazis coming to power, and the majority of nations, including the US, took part in the Games.
If the Olympics is the root of the principle that politics and sport should not be mixed, it is one that India needs to follow as far as cricket is concerned. Rather than cancel the planned tour, India should up the ante diplomatically and pressurize Pakistan through political and diplomatic efforts.
There is no stronger argument for the delinking of sport and politics than the aftermath of the massacre in Munich in 1972. “After the terrorists killed two Israelis and took control of the Olympic Village, a number of events continued until activities were suspended late in the day. Despite the carnage at the airport, Avery Brundage, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, famously said, "The Games must go on," and 34 hours later competition resumed,” writes the New York Times