NEW DELHI: BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur on Thursday threw his weight behind the resumption of the Pakistan-India series.
“We play Pakistan in the World Cup. We played them in the 2015 World Cup, we’ll play them next year in the Asia Cup. Then we’ll again play them in the month of March in World T20,” said Thakur.
“So when you play them in a multinational tournament in world events, then what stops you from playing them in a bilateral series. So that’s the question we have to answer.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament added that cricket could pave the way for discussion on other important topics such as terrorism and trade.
“I think you have to take a call (on) whether there should not be any talks. Let other countries go to UN and let other boards go to ICC for decisions, but you have to decide if you want to engage with them. So I think you have to decide diplomatically what call to take,” said Thakur.
“If you engage (with Pakistan), then you can raise the issue of terrorism as well as cricket as well as trade. But if you don’t engage, you give that opportunity to someone else.”
“If you look at it, on one hand, you’re improving your relations with other countries, your visit to Bhutan, Nepal, the Foreign Minister’s visits to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In the last five years, if you look at our relations with our neighbours, they weren’t that good,” he added.
Thakur, who is also president of the BJP’s Yuva Morcha, insisted that it was time diplomacy was not swayed by social media on any engagement with Pakistan.
“I think when it comes to Pakistan, it’s not that easy to take calls. And five years back, there was no role of social media. Today you see a lot of reaction from social media, but you still can’t say it’s the sense of the entire country. At times you can’t go only by social media; you have to look at the interests of the nation,” he said.
Moreover, Thakur insisted that sitting across the table and talking to each other was the only way forward for both countries.
“I think diplomatic relations are very important for any country and deciding whether you want to remain at loggerheads or actually sit across the table and discuss things. We have been discussing the issues of cricket, trade, terrorism, PoK and Kashmir with Pakistan,” concluded Thakur.