No decision on resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties

New Delhi: No decision has been taken on "resumption" of cricket ties with Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said today in the backdrop of reports that Indian cricket team may tour that country early next year.

She said, "Hv (have) been asked abt (about) resumption of cricket ties with Pak. Want to clarify no such decision, although sporting contacts may be encouraged."

Replying to another question on twitter, Rao said, "Sporting contacts btw (between) India and Pakistan, bar (barring) cricket, have been taking place. This can be encouraged further. Hope I am clear."

During their informal talks on the sidelines of Indo- Pak cricket World Cup semi-final in Mohali on March 30, Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan had expressed desire to have normalisation of bilateral cricketing ties.

"Cricket has become a uniting factor and I think one thing which we can agree is that the sporting links between our two countries should be normalised as early as possible," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his opening remarks at the dinner he hosted for his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, who on his part invited Indian cricket team to Pakistan to play matches there.

This was followed by a flurry of reports from Pakistan on a possible tour by the Indian cricket team early next year.

Also, sources here indicated that government will not have any problem if the team wished to tour Pakistan.

However, the Cricket Board had maintained that they have not been told anything by the government decision and it had been pointed out that the Indian cricketing calender was full for next four years.

There has also been scepticism about whether Indian players will visit Pakistan, given the security situation there. During a tour for a test-series in 2009, Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists in Lahore.

Another dimension to the issue was presence of strong feelings within the team in the aftermath of 26/11 terror attacks as reflected in the views of Gautam Gambhir, who dedicated the World Cup victory to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks.