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Army Caps and India's ODI Series Defeat by Australia

When the Indian national cricket team took to the field for its third ODI against Australia in Ranchi on March 8, 2019, they wore military caps to show support for the Indian military against Pakistan. This was an unprecedented act of politicization of international sports on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's watch in India. Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Australia's opening batsman, responded to it with a maiden century that helped his team win by 32 runs after losing first two ODIs.  Khawaja then proceeded to score the series highest total score of 383 to help Australia win the remaining two ODIs and the series 3-2.

Pakistan Born Usman Khawaja Batting for Australia Against India at Ranchi

Usman Tariq Khawaja:

Usman Tariq Khawaja, born in Islamabad, Pakistan, is the first Muslim member of the Australian national cricket team.  He currently represents Australia and Queensland. Khawaja made his first-class cricket debut for New South Wales in 2008 and played his first international match for Australia in January 2011. 

Pakistan born Usman T. Khawaja, Australia's opening batsman, responded to Indian team's jingoism with a maiden century that helped his team win the 3rd of 5 ODIs by 32 runs after losing first two ODIs.   Khawaja then proceeded to score the series highest total score of 383 to help Australia win the remaining the remaining two ODIs and the series 3-2. Khawaja was named player of the match for 3rd and 5th ODIs.

India's Sports Jingoism:

In an Op Ed for Huffpost, Indian journalist Binoo John summed up what happened in Ranchi in the following words: "No team in the history of modern cricket has worn military camouflage caps or symbols during an international match to make a statement".

What happened in Ranchi is part of a pattern of Modi-led Indian hostile actions that include an almost total boycott of all cultural and sports exchanges that have historically helped lower tensions between the two South Asian neighbors.  Pakistani artists are no welcome in India's entertainment industry. Pakistan players are banned from Indian cricket leagues.

Politicization of Culture and Sports:

Modi government has completely ignored Indian parliament's foreign affairs committee report that recommended: “Taking a holistic picture, the committee are of the considered opinion that cultural, sporting and humanitarian exchanges need to be approached from a broader perspective as this could emerge as one potential area of creating peace constituencies in both the countries.”

In February 2019, the International Olympic Committee decided to suspend all Indian applications to host future events and urged international sports federations not to stage competitions in the country after two Pakistanis were denied visas to compete in New Delhi.

Hindu Nationalism:

Hindu Nationalists, led by RSS Karsevak Modi and aided by the jingoistic Indian media, are radicalizing India's population by promoting hatred against minorities. Attacking Pakistan fits in well with the Hindu Nationalist Islamophobic narrative. Madhav Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake off the despoilers".

In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Indian Think Tanks:

Hindu Nationalists are aided by what Indian journalist Pankaj Mishra calls "New Delhi’s burgeoning military-intellectual complex is exacerbating rather than moderating the country’s warlike mood". Mishra is referring to India's large and rapidly growing think tank industry with many "armchair generals..marching India into trouble". Here's the relevant excerpt of Mishra's Bloomberg Op Ed about India's think tanks:

"Perched in privately funded think tanks, many of these connoisseurs of “surgical strikes” did not seem in the least shocked or disturbed that an Indian leader who has, as the Economist put it last week, “made a career of playing with fire” was now playing with Armageddon by launching airstrikes into Pakistan. Rather, they echoed the Hindu nationalist consensus that India was now finally dictating the terms of engagement with its rival — a triumphalism shattered the very next day when Pakistan raised its own threshold for conflict with India by striking within Indian territory and bringing down an Indian warplane. Eisenhower’s fear in 1961 of vested interests acquiring “unwarranted influence” is freshly pertinent in today’s New Delhi. With hopes rising that India would soon be a superpower closely allied to the U.S., as well as a strategic counterweight to China, much Indian and foreign money has gone into creating a luxurious ecosystem for strategic experts and foreign-policy analysts".

Here's an Australian 60 Minutes video about Islamabad Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja:

https://youtu.be/OdkY30QGPFE

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Comment by Riaz Haq on March 17, 2019 at 5:13pm

ICC CEO David Richardson: Foreign players' comfort levels in #Pakistan 'growing all the time' . #cricket #PSLFinal #Karachi 


https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/wrestling/wo...


Over the last two years, Pakistan has made serious strides towards bringing big cricket back to the country in a significant way. The PCB has successfully hosted various international teams over the last 20 months as well as the high-profile PSL. All this, according to the ICC's chief executive officer David Richardson, has "changed the perception" of Pakistan as a place to visit.

International cricket in Pakistan came to an abrupt halt with the 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore, with Pakistan's national team finding a home away from home in the UAE. Since the visit of Zimbabwe in 2015, however, there has been a slow and steadily increasing flow of teams touring Pakistan.

"I think they've done a tremendous job and the level of comfort is growing all the time among the foreign players," Richardson said, during Sunday's PSL final between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi. "I know some security officials from Australia and other countries have come to see the matches here. Step by step, certainly, Pakistan is on the right path and I know that the PCB will be redoubling their efforts to encourage people and teams to come across and certainly it will be with the ICC's support."



#IOC bans international #sports in #India. World #wrestling body takes away junior #Asian championship from #India after #India's visa refusal to #Pakistani wrestlers.The fate of Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan is also uncertain. http://toi.in/jrqUFb/a24gk via @TOISports

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 17, 2019 at 8:12pm

#Islamabad should not anticipate #Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan to abate after #India's elections. To the contrary, any #BJP win will reinforce their conviction that aggression against #Pakistan and the #Kashmiris is a winning formula. #Balakot https://www.dawn.com/news/1470123

Any belief in India that its military adventurism has ‘worked’ could erode the stability of mutual deterrence which Pakistan’s military response of Feb 27 re-established. If New Delhi is convinced that Pakistan can be cowed by a combination of military and diplomatic pressure, it may feel emboldened in the next crisis to conduct military strikes at a ‘higher’ level.


Pakistan must, therefore, take steps to expose India’s falsehoods before, during, and after the military exchanges of Feb 26-28. It should advertise that India’s bombs destroyed trees and killed a crow. It must reveal to the world, including the people of India, how Pakistan could have destroyed Indian military targets but chose not to do so. It should point out that India’s captured pilot could have been humiliated and India could have had its nose rubbed in the dirt by requiring a minister or its air chief to come and retrieve him. Finally, it should be made clear that Pakistan’s actions against militant organisations are designed to implement its own National Action Plan, not in response to Indian or other external pressure.

Islamabad should not anticipate that Modi’s hostility towards Pakistan will abate after the Indian national elections. Apart from their ideological animus, if Modi and the Hindu alliance succeed in the forthcoming elections, it will reinforce their conviction that aggression against Pakistan and the Kashmiris is a winning formula.

Unfortunately, India’s aggressive posture is being actively encouraged by the US which is now firmly aligned with New Delhi in its global rivalry with China. Pakistan enjoys some leverage in the context of Afghanistan; but this does not seem to have prevented Washington’s one-sided pressure on Pakistan during and after India’s military incursion.

Yet, this does not imply that the Kashmir issue will fade away. Despite all odds — massive Indian oppression, over 100,000 killed, Pakistan’s frequent indifference — the Kashmiris have persisted in their struggle for freedom from Indian rule for over 70 years.

The current uprising in occupied Kashmir is led by the third generation of Kashmiris. It is entirely indigenous. It has continued for four years without external support and is likely to be sustained. Like Afghanistan, Kashmir is mountainous, and India is a large and fractured country where active insurgencies are under way in 119 districts (according to former prime minister Manmohan Singh) and can find succour from various internal sources.

The BJP’s plan to ‘resolve’ the Kashmir ‘problem’ is to colonise it and transform it into a Hindu-majority state. A first step in this plan would be to eliminate Jammu & Kashmir’s ‘special’ and autonomous status under the Indian constitution. If Modi and the BJP proceed with this plan, the Kashmiri resistance will obviously intensify. The Hindu fundamentalists may then be tempted to resort to the outright genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims.

As the blood flows, the Kashmiri diaspora, and sympathetic Pakistanis, will seek to join the freedom struggle, including from Pakistan’s territory. The Pakistan government will then face a binary choice: facilitate the freedom fighters or fight them as ‘terrorists’.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 19, 2019 at 7:31am

#India isolated after #IOC bans #international #sports events. #India loses junior #Davis Cup & Fed Cup hosting rights. Teams including #Pakistan's were to travel to India for the annual competition now moved to #Bangkok, #Thailand. https://sportstar.thehindu.com/tennis/junior-davis-cup-fed-cup-indi... via @sportstarweb

The closure of Pakistan’s air space in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes has resulted in India losing the hosting rights of the junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup, a source in the national federation told PTI on Tuesday.

A total of 16 Under-16 Davis Cup teams, including Pakistan, were to travel to India for the annual competition, often dubbed as the World Cup of tennis.

The junior Davis Cup was to be held at the DLTA complex from April 8-13 while the Fed cup matches were scheduled from April 15-20.

READ | ATP rankings: Prajnesh rises to career-high 84, injured Yuki out of top-200

"Pakistan’s air space was locked down at that time and airports (in India) were also on high alert. No one knew for how long the uncertain situation will prevail. So, a consensus emerged that it’s best to shift the venue and India could host tournaments in future," a highly-placed source told PTI.

Both the competitions will now be held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The tensions between the two neighbours heightened after the Pulwama terror attack in which more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The responsibility of the attack was taken by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.

India retaliated with an air strike, targeting a training camp of the outfit on February 26. Pakistan’s air space remains closed till date in the aftermath.

The source said logistics became a big issue for almost all the participating countries.

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