Mahesh Bhupathi, India’s tennis team captain requested for safety guarantee before travelling to Pakistan. The team will play Pakistan for in the Davis Cup. The move comes after Pakistan expelled the Indian Ambassador. Also, Pakistan has suspended all public transport links and bilateral trade with India.
It comes after the removal of “special status” rights of Indian-occupied Kashmir by India. According to Bhupathi, his main concern is the security of his team. The AITA (All India Tennis Association) states on Wednesday that they sent a letter to the governing body of sports to re-consider shifting the tie to some neutral and safe venue.
Moreover, the same letters asks the governing body to postpone the match for a few months until this issue between both nations simmers down to some solution. The ITF (International Tennis Federation) has expressed satisfaction with the security plan arranged by Pakistan in Islamabad for this match.
According to an email sent to ITF by Hironmoy Chatterjee, the General Secretary of AITA, recent developments lead to a situation where it is not possible to play a happy and friendly match. Also, the recent tensions between the two countries is not considered by the ITF’s security agency during their assessment.
The Indian association has contacted ITF and asked them to share their security reports after assessing the condition in Islamabad. They also requested to arrange a called meeting between their security consultants. AITA has selected a six-member team under the leadership of Bhupathi for the tie of September 14-15.
Tennis Ties Between India and Pakistan
During 1964, Indian tennis team made a visit to Pakistan for playing Davis Cup. The host team lost 4-0. Whereas, Pakistan visited India during 2006, for playing Davis Cup and lost by 3-2. In the past, Pakistan selected neutral venues for hosting Davis Cup. Most teams refuse to visit Pakistan due to safety concerns.
Pakistan played their first home tie after a gap of 12 years against Iran in 2017. Also, ITF fined and relegated Hong Kong for refused to travel to Pakistan the same year. It is not just tennis which is suffering but also cricket.
The Indian Cricket Team did not visit Pakistan since 2007. The bilateral ties remained suspended between both nations since 2008. However, both nations play each other in International tournaments. Also, cricket players from both nations regularly engage in bitter spats. Recently, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and India’s Gautam Gambhir clashed on Twitter.
The Indian Sports Minister, Kiren Rijiju, states that the government will not stop the team from visiting Pakistan for playing Davis Cup tie. According to him, this is not a bilateral series. The governing body is organizing the match, and the team will play the match in Pakistan.