By Amlan Chakraborty
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India may request the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to shift next month’s Davis Cup tie against Pakistan from Islamabad to a neutral venue because of the prevailing tensions between the neighbors, an Indian official told Reuters on Thursday.
Pakistan said on Wednesday it would expel India’s ambassador and suspend bilateral trade with its arch-rival after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) named a six-member squad under captain Mahesh Bhupathi on Monday for the Sept. 14-15 tie in Islamabad but subsequent developments have put a question mark on the fate of the contest.
“As of now, there’s no change to our plans but we’ll wait for a few days and see if the situation merits a review,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee said by telephone.
“A lot has changed over the last few days and we may ask ITF to review the situation and take a call. It’s not for us to take a call.
“If needed, we’ll ask ITF to see if they, keeping players’ safety I mind, can shift the tie to a neutral venue where both teams feel safe and comfortable.”
Chatterjee dismissed reports that any Indian player has security apprehensions about playing in Islamabad.
“Nothing of that sort, they are fine. We’ve named our squad only after speaking to them.”
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have twice waged war over Kashmir and in February engaged in an aerial clash.
India’s cricket team has not toured Pakistan since 2007 and bilateral cricketing ties between them have remained suspended since 2008.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Christian Radnedge)