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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

India, Pak ex-soldiers plan tee party for peace

Debobrat Ghose , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 19, 2012
First Published: 01:11 IST(19/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(19/11/2012)

Forget cricket, the India-Pak peace process is now changing the game to golf and that too, between men who have fought wars with each other in the past.

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Former armed forces personnel of the two countries will tee off in Pakistan from November 20 in a reciprocal tournament aimed at improving bilateral relations.

While the teams in question now are of private senior citizens, they have retired army officers on both sides.

Delhi Explorers, an eight-member team, will be received at the Wagah Border on Monday by their Pakistani counterparts, the Lahore Divots.

The trip is the result of the friendship between the two team leaders, captain MS Kohli from Delhi and Tariq Jamil, a financial services consultant from Lahore.

Apart from the captain, the Delhi team has four former defence personnel, including two retired vice-admirals and an air marshal. The Lahore team has five, including two retired colonels, a brigadier a major, and a navy commander.

“The idea is to make this an annual, reciprocal affair to strengthen peace between the two countries,” says Kohli, who was born in Haripur, Pakistan, in 1931 and shifted to India during the Partition.

“I’ve known captain saheb for 25 years since we were posted in Hong Kong. The golf trip was his idea,” says Jamil, 70.

Asked if visas were a problem, Jamil says, “In the past few months, there has been a significant improvement in the visa approval process on both sides.”

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