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Indian government won’t interfere in country’s involvement in Davis Cup fixture in Islamabad, declares Kiren Rijiju

Sports Cafe 2019-08-12 18:38:35

Kiren Rijiju has stated that the Indian tennis team is free to participate in the Davis Cup ties being held in Pakistan without any restrictions. He said that since the match was organized by a world body, and India will take part in the match in accordance with the Olympic charters.

India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has cleared the air around India’s Davis Cup commitments in September that have been in question for a long time. The team is supposed to travel to archrivals Pakistan to play in the Asia-Oceania Zone Group 1 tie and a failure to do so will see the country being eliminated from the tournament.

No Indian sporting contingent has travelled to the neighbouring country for more than a decade now, with bilateral ties between the country having been completely cut off. However, the two countries have continued to clash in global sporting events across various sports around the world, but not in each other’s homes.

However, the tennis team is set to rise through the political tensions that cloud the two team’s relationships and will become the first Indian Davis Cup team to play in Pakistan since 1964.

"If it is a bilateral sporting event, then whether India will play with Pakistan becomes a political decision. But Davis Cup is not a bilateral and is organised by a world sporting body," Rijiju said on the sidelines of an event of the ministry of youth affairs,” Kiren Rijiju was reported saying by TOI.

"Since India is a signatory to the Olympic charter. Therefore, the government of India or the national federation do not have a say on whether India will participate or not," he added.

Earlier, officials had made statements on similar lines claiming it won’t be seeking the External Affairs Ministry’s permission since it is a sporting affair, and will go through with the tie. However, with the recent removal of Article 370, political tension has heightened, leading the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to seek a neutral venue from the ITF.

The request is unlikely to be accepted considering Pakistan has stated that the arrangements in Islamabad are already underway. Moreover, ITF officials have already visited the facilities to ensure adequate security will be provided to the visitors. If the tour goes through, which it will in all probability, it will be Pakistan’s fifth time hosting in the Davis Cup over the last two years.