Sports minister takes stance
Indian sports minister MS Gill has voiced his opposition to India’s planned tour of Pakistan next year in the wake of the recent Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan are due to host India for three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international in January, but the tourists' travel plans hinge on clearance from the Indian government.
Indian officials believe the attacks on Mumbai were sourced in Pakistan and diplomatic relations between the two countries have drastically deteriorated since the incidents last month.
Gill said: "Is it possible for one team to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?
"I have played cricket myself and I know the spirit of cricket.
"Sports contact is for enhancing friendship between human beings and neighbours above all."
Gill indicated that financial reasons should not be a consideration.
"Cricket is not commerce," he said.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt, currently in India, is due to discuss the possibility of India playing the tour as planned or alternatively at a neutral venue.
While Gill’s comments do not preclude clearance being granted, they do make it appear unlikely.
Indian cricket board officials have said they are ready to accept the government’s decision.
"We will go by what the government decides," Board of Control for Cricket in India vice-president Rajiv Shukla said.
The International Cricket Council said its hands were tied.
"If the Indian government refuses permission for the team to travel to Pakistan, then we have to respect that decision," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.