हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

India favours frequent Indo-Pak tours

Published: Sunday, July 25, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Kolkata:The Central Government was in favour of frequent Indo-Pak bilateral cricket tours in its bid to further improve the relations between the two neighbours, Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Kolkata on Sunday.

Mukherjee said that the cricket tours would form a part of the track-II diplomacy between the two countries.

''Not only cricket, there should be closer ties in areas like culture to further promote people-to-people interaction between the two countries,'' he said.

''I have already discussed the matter with External Affairs minister Natwar Singh and told him to see to it that there were more Indo-Pak bilateral cricket tours,'' Mukherjee said while addressing the annual prize distribution ceremony of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

Referring to the Indian team's recent tour of Pakistan, which ended a 14-year lull in bilateral cricketing ties, Mukherjee said Ganguly and his boys had not only returned triumphant, but also won hearts of the people of the neighbouring country.

"This tour has definitely helped in bettering Indo-Pak relations. Not only the Indian team received hearty welcome wherever it went, even the thousands of people who went to witness the matches, were moved by the friendship extended by the masses in Pakistan.

''Though the teams fought very hard in the field, the national flags of the two countries fluttered side by side in gallery,'' he said.

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