Thatscricket - News - Govt cant be forced to take decision on ATC: Bharti
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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[an error occurred while processing this directive]New Delhi: India's firebrand Sports Minister Uma Bharti on Monday warned that the country will not be coerced into participating in the upcoming Asian Test Championship set to begin later this month."The decision cannot be forced upon the government," she said, reacting sharply to Asian Cricket Foundation president Jagmohan Dalmiya's earlier statement that India should convey its decision by August 23 or the championship would go ahead without it."We will not take a decision merely on the threat issued by someone," Bharti, a vocal Hindu nationalist leader, told officials from her Sports Ministry.She added, however, that a decision on India's participation would be taken shortly. "Since a decision has not been taken so far, it should not be construed that India has pulled out of the championship," she said."The decision has to be taken by the Foreign Ministry and I will convey it as soon as I get to know of it. After all, sports is not the only thing the government has to think about. The country and its policies are of greater importance than sports," Bharti said.The championship is scheduled to bring together Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and will be played at different venues between August and February.The four-nation championship is due to begin at Multan in Pakistan from August 29 with the first-ever Test between Pakistan and Bangladesh.India has refused to participate in any bilateral cricket series with arch rival Pakistan, whom it accuses of backing cross-border terrorism in the disputed state of Kashmir.India had cancelled a scheduled cricket tour of Pakistan in December last year and then pulled out of the Sharjah series in the Gulf because of Pakistan's presence.