Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has poured cold water on the possibility of resumption of cricketing ties with Pakistan, citing the frequent exchange of firing at the Line of Control (LoC) as the reason, the Times of India reported on Monday.
Swaraj made the comments at a meeting of the consultative committee attached to the Indian foreign ministry. "The high number of cross-border firings did not set the tone for engagements such as a cricket series," Swaraj was quoted as saying.
The foreign minister was replying to a query on whether restarting the long-suspended cricket exchange could be an option for easing tensions between the two countries.
Due to political tensions, the two arch-rivals haven't faced each other in a bilateral cricket series since Pakistan's tour of India during the 2012-13 season. Meanwhile, the 2005-06 series remains India's last visit of Pakistan, with the Men in Blue failing to honour at least two bilateral series despite the existence of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries' cricket boards.
The Indian minister, speaking on the issue of tension along the LoC, said that 800 cross-border violations took place in 2017, Times of India reported.
Swaraj's remarks would not bring any joy for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which, in November, sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, seeking up to $70 million in damages for failing to play two contractually agreed upon bilateral series.
On Sunday, in an interview with The Week, PCB Chairman Najam Sethi stressed upon the importance — both financial and otherwise — of Indo-Pak cricket series, urging the two countries to set aside their political differences for the sake of the game.
"It is absolutely vital that the two countries play against each other," he said in the interview. "There is no doubt that India-Pakistan is the most exciting series, much ahead of the Ashes. It is also important, both, in terms of eyeballs and financial health of the two boards."