Bengaluru, June 9: Has Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Bangladesh just a few days ahead of the bilateral cricket series created perfect conditions for sports rivalry between the two neighbours?
The Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) steps to ban provocative posters and keeping tabs on the social media about unwelcome photos and remarks show that the neighbouring cricket board is keen to maintain the feel-good atmosphere. [Bangladesh shuts Islamic seminary, forbids provocative banners for India tour]
After the storm that broke out over the World Cup quarter-final match between India and Bangladesh at Melbourne in Australia, cricket authorities were apprehensive about repercussions during the bilateral series and hence took all possible measures to keep it under control. [#DespiteBeingAWoman: Sorry folks, PM Modi wasn't delivering a Saas-Bahu dialogue in Dhaka]
On Sunday, PM Modi told during a speech in Dhaka that his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina Wajed has put up a strong fight against terrorism despite being a woman. Though the remark earned huge criticism in India, but Modi certainly made a diplomatic point to glorify a woman leader of an Islamist state.
The PM's itself was also a successful one as India and Bangladesh signed the historic Land Boundary Agreement and he was accompanied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The Bengal CM's change in stand and accompanying the Indian PM to Bangladesh (something she outrightly denied three years ago) was in itself a big improvement.
The Teesta water-sharing treaty is yet to be settled but after the land deal, the water deal doesn't look an impossibility either.
Both sides will now hope for a successful cricket series featuring one Test and three one-day internationals. Repetition of any World Cup-like incident will be the last thing either side will want. For South Asian solidarity, cricket, too, has a big role to play besides politics.