The junior hockey team of Pakistan arrived in India on Saturday to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup being held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5, the Pakistan high commission said. Aftab Hasan Khan, the Charge d' Affaires at the high commission extended a warm welcome to the hockey team, it said in a statement.
It said a senior diplomat of the high commission received the members of the team at the Indira Gandhi International airport. The visit of the Pakistani hockey team to India comes days after New Delhi decided to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. "Aftab Hasan Khan, the Charge d' Affaires, high commission for Pakistan extended a warm welcome to Pakistan's junior hockey team visiting India to participate in Junior Hockey World Cup," the Pakistan high commission said.
It said the Charge d' Affaires also hosted a lunch in honour of the hockey team at the high commission's Chancery building. "Speaking on the occasion, the Charge d' Affaires extended his best wishes to Pakistan Junior Hockey Team for their success during the Hockey World Cup," the high commission said. Stating that hockey is the national sport of Pakistan, he hoped that the players will perform with great spirit and the best of their abilities, it said.
"The head coach, members of the team management and the players appreciated Pakistan High Commission's hospitality during transit in Delhi on their way to Bhubaneswar. They are fully prepared and in high spirits to give their best during the matches," the high commission said. The ties between the two countries significantly nosedived after India announced in August 2019 its decision to withdraw the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
Pakistan has been making concerted efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue. India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has been maintaining that the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.