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Indian government gives gurantee to IOC; agrees to grant visa to Pakistan athletes

The Indian government has issued a written letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over participation of athletes and sportspersons from all countries in Indian tournaments “without any prejudice to our principled positions and policies on other political matters”. This has cleared the path for international tournaments to return to India.

In February, Pakistani shooters GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed were denied visa to travel to India for participating in the ISSF World Cup in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. IOC had revoked Olympics qualification status of the 25m rapid fire event, in which the two Pakistani shooters were to participate. The committee also suspended all discussions with India regarding potential applications to host Olympics-related events and advised all its affiliated international federations to neither award nor hold events in India until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian Government to ensure the entry of all participants.

In a letter to IOC chief Thomas Bach and Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra, sports secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya stated that the government will “permit all qualified athletes belonging to any National Olympic Committee recognised by the IOC to participate.”

In response to Julaniya’s letter, IOA president Batra said, “the Hon’ble Sports Minister and the Secretary, Sports were extremely positive and helpful for an urgent and immediate resolution of the issue.” The government’s decission has raised hopes for a bilateral ODI series between India and Pakistan’s women’s’ cricket teams which will determine the qualifications for the Women’s World Cup in 2021.

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