Reviving Sports Diplomacy.
India's tennis team will visit Pakistan for their Davis Cup tie. The decision of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to send its side can be exploited to open the possibilities of resuming other sports activities between Pakistan and India. It is unfortunate to note that the strained relations between the two countries have also harmed the sports. The recent decision of the AITA and Indian government's no objection to Indian players' play in Pakistan is a pleasant surprise to all tennis lovers. India's decision is laudable.
The president of AITA says since it is an international event, therefore they did not require a clearance from the government in this regard. Neither the Indian government nor the AITA has asked for any 'special security' for Indian players. This shows that India also realises the fact that Pakistan has by and large succeeded in defeating the menace of terrorism. Hopefully, the tour of the Indian team will be a revival of sports diplomacy between the two South Asian nations. There is no denial of the efficacy of sports diplomacy. It has emerged as an integral part of efforts to build ever-strengthening relations between countries. Engaging in sports diplomacy is not a one-way idea. It's an osmotic process. The use of sports as a platform will expose people of both sides to understand each other well.
The AITA's decision to send its tennis team provides the Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan, Imran Khan with a perfect opportunity to play his role in bringing the two nations closer. PM Khan, who led the winning side of the cricket world cup in 1992, can exploit the potentials of sports diplomacy to the maximum. The attraction of sports diplomacy is that it is a relatively low-cost, low risk but high profile tool of foreign policy. PM Khan knows it better than any other politician that exchanges made under sports diplomacy increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world.