Stating that sports should be kept free of politics, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said the Pakistan cricket team's tour of India next month should be welcomed.
"Any player from anywhere can come to India and play here. We cannot restrict.... We must have friendly relations. What has happened in the past, all the time we should not repeat it," Shinde told reporters after the passing-out parade of Indian Police Service trainees at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy.
Asked about the opposition of the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to the tour, Shinde said, "Sportsmanship should be maintained. Cricket as a sport is certainly welcome. It should be free from politics."
He said if any meeting took place on the sidelines of the upcoming Interpol meeting in Rome (from November 5), he would take up visa issues with his Pakistani counterpart, Rehman Malik.
He said India had expressed its willingness to move ahead on the recently signed liberalised visa agreement. "Regarding visa [matters], we are ready. But we are told that they [Pakistan] are not ready at the moment. I have asked our embassy people to find out what exactly the situation is."