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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned on Thursday he hoped a historic cricket match between India and Afghanistan would strengthen ties between the South Asian neighbors and allies within the combat in opposition to militancy within the area.

FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks throughout the inauguration of hydro energy and infrastructure tasks within the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in Jammu May 19, 2018. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Afghanistan began its maiden five-day take a look at match within the southern Indian metropolis of Bengaluru on Thursday, with the match attended by prime authorities officers from either side.

“I congratulate the individuals of Afghanistan as their cricket crew performs their first worldwide take a look at match. Glad that they’ve chosen to play the historic match with India. Best needs to each groups!” Modi mentioned on Twitter. “May sports activities proceed to carry our individuals nearer and strengthen ties.”

India’s sports activities minister, Rajyavardhan Rathore, shook palms with Afghan gamers earlier than the match and browse out a congratulatory assertion from Modi.

Awarded full member standing by the International Cricket Council (ICC) alongside Ireland in June final yr, Afghanistan grew to become the 12th test-playing nation after first being acknowledged by the ICC in 2001. India is the world’s top-ranked take a look at facet.

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai was offered with a memento from former India all-rounder Salim Durani, who was born in Kabul, earlier than the match started.

India has already provided war-ravaged Afghanistan two stadiums within the nation to host matches with different nations.

New Delhi enjoys shut relations with Afghanistan and each accuse widespread neighbor Pakistan of not doing sufficient to cease Islamist militants working on its territory.

“The historic friendship and relations between India and Afghanistan return to centuries. I’m glad that cricket is now added as one other layer,” Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal mentioned in January, when the date and venue of the match have been introduced.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Paul Tait

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