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The use of cricket as a political tool to enhance or worsen the diplomatic relations between two cricket playing nations is called cricket diplomacy. Cricket is used as a political tool to bridge the gap in the diplomatic vacuum between two cricket playing nations. Cricket is a popular game of south Asia. Cricket is the second-most widely played game in the world after football. For sporting diplomacy, cricket is used as tool. Cricket diplomacy is different from other diplomacies that are used for the countries. So the cricket diplomacy is the opposite of the notorious gunboat diplomacy, in which forces are deployed and coercion is used against the opponent.
Cricket Diplomacy in the Context of Indo-Pak Relations:
If we look to the cricket diplomacy in the context of Indo-Pak relations, then it is cleared that cricket is not a new things to used as diplomatic tool in the history of this region .Because if we look to cricket diplomacy in the shape of Indian and Pakistan’s diplomatic vacuum then can easily understand that cricket diplomacy is not a new thing. From 1987 the government of Gen Zia ul Haq to the present government of Pakistan, it shows that cricket plays a vital role between India and Pakistan and bridges the gap in diplomatic vacuum between two cricket playing nations. In 1987, the Pakistan’s president of that time, Gen Zia ul Haq visited India to meet Gandhi, he consequently watered down mutual mistrust and deflected the tensions that they had faced against the Soviet invasions of Afghanistan and Soviet pressure on India by attending a test match between India and Pakistan in Jaipur. In 2000, Hindu extremists dug up the cricket pitch in New Delhi to protest against the Pakistan’s team’s visit. Following the kargil conflict and at various other times, there have also been calls to suspend cricketing ties between the two countries. In 2005, Gen Pervez Musharraf visited India to watch a cricket match and met Man Mohan Singh to revive talks on Kashmir. It is interesting when state leaders use such tools of diplomacy as a supposed part of their high level talk .The president Musharraf also did speech in Indian parliament, “Nothing brings the people of the subcontinent together more than our love for cricket and Bollywood. By this way the both counterpart declared to the world that the peace process between their two nations was irreversible. So that decision was great and by this way million of cricket fans wishes fulfilled.
The meeting of Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during the 2011 cricket world cup after India and Pakistan qualified for semifinal ,cricket diplomacy has been the positive perception from both India and Pakistan to strengthen the relationships between the two nations in the time of chaos after the 2008 Mumbai attacks which further deteriorated the already existing tussle between the two countries. Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh used this opportunity and greeted his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza gilani to watch the match with him at Mohall. Subsequently Gilani accepted the offer and agreed to watch the match with Man Mohan Singh.
International View Point about the Cricket Diplomacy:
About cricket the Victoria Nuland the state deportment spokesperson said, that Americans generally don’t know much about cricket, but they like it when Pakistan and India play against each other. The meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s Yousuf Raza Gilani at the cricket World Cup semi-final is the latest attempt at cricket diplomacy in South Asia. The meeting of Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and Pakistan’s Yousuf Raza Gilani at the cricket World Cup semi-final is the latest attempt at cricket diplomacy in South.
Cricket diplomacy is best for rooting peace between two countries. According to Musharraf, there are two basic benefits of cricket diplomacy. The first importance of the cricket according to Musharraf that it can be used as an ice-breaker in case when two opposing leadership is not in touch with each other. The second importance according to Musharaf was by this way when the two opposing group meet, it improve the environment of discussion because they have better understanding of each other and the inter–state relations have much to do with inter-personal relation.
So by cricket diplomacy develop personal relations. The cricket diplomacy does not mean to resolve the disputes to attend a match together by the two counter-part in India but by cricket develops the understanding between two leaders and that is exactly, what happened when Gilani went to India to the cricket match. So the cricket is the basic tool of diplomacy between two nations.
Cricket is used as a political tool to bridge the gap in the diplomatic vacuum between two Cricket playing nations. For sporting diplomacy the cricket is used as a tool. The cricket Is the opposite of the gun diplomacy in which forces are deployed .So it is concluded that the Cricket diplomacy is proved a peaceful solution of every circumstances between India and Pakistan as compare to the gun diplomacy.