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International Sport(s), Geopolitics, and Political Histrionics

International Sport(s), Geopolitics, and Political Histrionics

Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani attended a semi-final match in the cricket World Cup today, the latest in a a 25-year series of events giving rise to the charming phrase, “cricket diplomacy”.¬† The seminal event¬† took place in 1987 when a match served as the pretext for what ended up being a somewhat decisive meeting between Zia-ul Haq and Rajiv Gandhi at one of the heights of tension in Kashmir.


And as an aside, the captain of the Pakistani team, Imran Khan, has since turned politician and and is a Pakistani MP, albeit a bit of a milquetoast-y one (there’s no shortage of course, not anywhere).

Speaking of pretexts and geopolitical histrionics, watch the daily “retreat ceremony” at Wagah on the Kashmiri border:

Let’s not forget the substantial role sport(s) plays in geopolitics: FIFA is, after all, the 2nd largest international organization (by number of member states)–only UN has more. But this topic is covered at some length.

And speaking of pretexts, I’ll take the opportunity to also remember that Kashmir isn’t solely contested by India and Pakistan: China has a stake too. It also has a spot of Muslim separatism (though not entirely–Xinjiang is semi-autonomous).

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