ISLAMABAD:

India on Friday said Pakistan cricket team would be treated just like any other country participating in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

The comment from the spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry came after Pakistan gave a go-ahead to the team to participate in the tournament being held in India in October this year, despite expressing concerns over the player safety.

“On Pakistan cricket team’s security concern for travel to India: Pakistan’s cricket team will be treated just like any other country participating in the World Cup,” the Indian spokesperson said in a statement.

The World Cup is scheduled in India in October and November. The high-stakes cricket match between Pakistan and India will be played on October 14 at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmadabad, Gujarat.

Gujarat is the home state of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Indian spokesperson hoped that “it is a good match and not a war”.

Pakistan decided to allow the team to participate in the World Cup on the recommendation of a high-powered committee. “Pakistan has consistently maintained that sports should not be mixed with politics. It has, therefore, decided to send its Cricket Team to India to participate in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023,” the Foreign Office had said.

“Pakistan believes that the state of bilateral relations with India should not stand in the way of fulfilling its international sports-related obligations,” the Foreign Office had added.

“Pakistan’s decision shows its constructive and responsible approach vis-a-vis India’s intransigent attitude, as the latter had refused to send its cricket team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup,” it further said.

The statement, however, expressed deep concerns about the team’s security. “We are conveying these concerns to the International Cricket Council and the Indian authorities. We expect that full safety and security of Pakistan cricket team will be ensured during its visit to India.”

Meanwhile, India denied claims by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that New Delhi had cancelled an in-person summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) because of Pakistan.

Bilawal, in his last press conference as foreign minister, said his visit to Goa in May for the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting might have compelled India to hold the summit virtually.

“We have spoken on more than three or four occasions on the different factors that led to SCO being held in virtual mode. It would be presumptuous of anyone to think that one factor or one person would have had a role to play,” the Indian MEA statement said.

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