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Women's cricket, culture to foster ties

With India and Pakistan deciding to go for the low-hanging fruits rather getting bogged down in the contentious issues, a series between the women's cricket teams, making joint documentaries and the exchange of cultural icons figured among the innovate confidence-building measures (CBMs) planned during the India-Pakistan foreign secretary level talks which concluded in Islamabad on Friday.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2011 01:03 IST
Jayanth Jacob

With India and Pakistan deciding to go for the low-hanging fruits rather getting bogged down in the contentious issues, a series between the women's cricket teams, making joint documentaries and the exchange of cultural icons figured among the innovate confidence-building measures (CBMs) planned during the India-Pakistan foreign secretary level talks which concluded in Islamabad on Friday.

During the talks, Pakistan stressed that all stake-holders in Pakistan were on board for the dialogue process in a bid to allay any doubt on the role of the all-powerful army. However, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) still "deliberating on the issue," resumption of the test series between the men's teams may take time, officials said.

"The edifice of the relationship has to be built brick by brick," foreign secretary Nirupama Rao told her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir during the talks as both sides went for a "step-by-step approach", focussing on the "doables", officials said.

"Such an approach, we thought was the best way to build the constituency for peace," officials said saying the easily achievable CBMs will go a long way in "reducing the trust deficit."

"Both countries have good women's cricket teams. And they playing a series can be an ideal CBM as sports bind people," another official said.

In 2005, India won their second Women's Asia Cup, played in Pakistan. Indian women were the runners-up in 2010 and Pakistan cricket team won the gold in Asian games last year. Both sides are also keen on expanding the people-to-people contact and the exchange of popular cultural icons.

"Though it's a very complex relationship, there are many Indian cultural icons, who are very popular in Pakistan and there are Pakistan stars hugely popular in India. The shared bonds of culture, art, and music can be fostered," explained an official.

"There is a burden of history. There are many complexities that define the relationship. So, a gradual approach is ideal for reducing the trust deficit and working for the normalisation of ties," said an official.

Both sides are working on getting many of the CBMs to be announced when Hina Rabbani Khar, junior foreign minister, set to become Pakistan's foreign minister arrives here for talks with external affairs minister SM Krishna in the second half of July.