The incident along the Line of Control on 8 January that claimed the lives of two Indian soldiers has affected the sporting relationship between India and Pakistan. On 15 January, the Hockey India League took the decision to send the nine Pakistani players in the tournament back to Pakistan after protests continued over their participation. There are also question marks about Pakistan’s participation in the Women’s World Cup, due to be held in India later this month.
Ayaz Memon, veteran sports journalist, would prefer that sports and politics did not mix, but said on SportsTalk that might be an idealistic position to take.
“On the one hand, it is very sad that these things directly affect sports because the hockey players have nothing to do with what’s happening,” Memon said. “On the other hand, it is a very emotional issue. It is a very live, political issue. It is a very emotional issue for people of this country.
“So it would be perhaps a little naive, perhaps a little idealistic, to say that nothing should happen, that there should be no repercussions.”
There have been calls from various quarters to end all engagement with Pakistan, be it cultural or sports, and while Memon would rather see sports used as a means to bridge the gap, he said one had to consider the risks involved.
“At the present moment it is wise not to have something because you don’t know if some untoward incident happens, it could flare up into something much bigger. You have to be very tempered and India v Pakistan relations are very volatile.
“I would be happier if sports is played and creates its own community and brings its own camaraderie and resolves matters, but at this point in time, perhaps it has just flared up so much that maybe it is a prudent decision.”
Watch the entire discussion between Sports Editor Ashish Magotra and veteran sports writer Ayaz Memon above. They also discuss the Indian cricket team's ODI win over England.