Indo-Pak Proxy War to shift from Kashmir to London, at least for a day

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The relations between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947, can best be described as hostile. The countries that were carved out of a single colony of Britain, have never seen eye to eye on most issues.

Indo-Pak Proxy War to shift from Kashmir to London, at least for a day

These have led to not only hurling of accusations and counter-accusations over the partition by the colonial master but actual wars between the two nations, fought in 1965, 1971, and the 1991 Kargil conflict.

Along with these, the use of terrorism by Pakistan as a modern day tool of war against India, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, is well recognised around the world. This began around the early the 1990's and has been a reality of life in the Valley ever since.

Though the proxy-war has seen dips in its intensity depending on the status of the relations at that time, it spikes violently every time diplomatic relations turn sour.

It is such a nature of the relationship that makes the rivalry between the opposing teams representing them more intense, whenever they face each other in any sport.

It's more than a game

This is truer in cricket than any other. With the people of both countries seeing it as much more than just a game and turning it into a matter of national pride and a chance of one-upmanship.

The fact that a suspension in cricketing ties between them is seen as one of the clearest forms of conveying heightened tensions gives an idea of the intensity of emotions that their citizens feel for the game.

Such a way of turning a game into a battle of diplomacy and pride is not helped by the passion with which cricket is not only played in the sub-continent but also watched and followed.

From bursting firecrackers after a win, feeling low on morale following a defeat in a crucial match (which can be read as every match), television sets being broken etc., are reactions well known in both India and Pakistan. And such a behaviour is even more exaggerated in the case of a victory or defeat against each other.

And when the great rivals, in cricketing terms and geopolitics, meet on Sunday, in what can be described as nothing but a blockbuster event given the fact that it is a final of prestigious tournament like the Champions Trophy, a rise in cricketing fever, which is already being seen, can be expected to grip both the nations.

The rise in tensions

This will be even more so given the rise in tensions between them in the last year or so. With Kashmir again witnessing increasing incidents of unrest backed by Pakistan, both on the border and inside the state. And daily reports proving that Pakistan's attempts of helping militant infiltration, cease-fire violations, along with financing of separatist groups in the Valley have clearly increased.

These along with other recent cases on an international setting, such as India dragging Pakistan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was tried as an Indian 'spy' and sentenced to death by a military court, in a trial which could be described as nothing but a sham, have added fuel to fire.

The judgement delivered by the ICJ, by which it ordered Pakistan not to follow up on its military court's decision, and also provide other remedial measures which it had denied till then, made the country suffer a further fall in reputation on the world stage.

Shift in the venue of the Proxy War

So the latest increase in tension, in combination with the already hostile rivalry between the two countries, in history and cricket, is set to see the shifting of the stage of the proxy war from Kashmir to London, at least for a day.

What makes it even more interesting is the irony which the location of the match provides. The fact that it would be played in the capital of the country without whose interference the two might have still been one nation, is a twist in the tale that seems more fiction than reality.

Though this is not the first time that teams of the countries have met at the world stage in important matches, it is not even the first time in this tournament with India winning the group stage match, given the current conditions the final seems to be a conspiracy of fate.

India also holds the record of not being beaten by its neighbour in a cricket World Cup, something that its cricketing fans have never forgotten to tease Pakistani counterparts with. And such victories and defeats remain clearly etched in the minds of the people belonging to them.

Though there are other similar stories of great rivalries between nations with strained history's such as Argentina and England, China and Japan, Australia and England, among others, when it comes to cricket it is the one between India and Pakistan that rules the roost.

And while neutrals and true lovers of the game would hope to see a match filled with true cricketing class and sportsmanship, it would be a mistake to think that the eager public of the two countries would see it as only a match and nothing more.

For them, only the location and field have shifted, not the battle, and the stakes have just been raised, with the attention of the world focused on it.

OneIndia News

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