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India, Pakistan hold flag meeting in Poonch

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Jammu: Indian and Pakistani army field commanders held a flag meeting on Tuesday at the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, an official said here.

“Battalion Commander Level Flag meeting was held at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch Sector at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to take forward the confidence building measures initiated during the Brigade Commander Level Flag meeting on December 22,” Col. S.D. Goswami, spokesperson of army’s Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command told IANS in winter capital Jammu.

“The representatives of the two armies deliberated over a host of issues, important ones being ceasefire violations, the return of inadvertent civilian crossers across LoC, air space violations and construction activity close to the LoC.

“In the meeting which lasted for nearly an hour-and-half, the Colonel-ranked officers leading the respective delegations acknowledged each other’s efforts in maintaining peace and tranquility on the line of control in the recent past,” Col. Goswami said.

“Both sides mutually agreed to the importance of exercising restraint on the LoC and keeping communications alive through established reconciliation mechanism.

“The Flag Meeting ended on a positive note wherein the two sides exchanged pleasantries and sweets,” the spokesperson added. India and Pakistan held an NSA level talks last month and since then both countries are having more communication.(IANS)

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IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to "isolate" its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

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IOC, Olympic, India, tokyo games, pakistan
FILE - Shimaa Hashad of Egypt takes part in a pratice session with an air rifle at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

The International Olympic Committee on Thursday canceled places for the 2020 Tokyo Games shooting competition to be awarded at an event in India after the host country refused to give visas to Pakistani shooters, the head of the sport’s governing body said.

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to “isolate” its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

Sixteen qualifying places for the Tokyo Games were to be decided at the opening shooting World Cup event in New Delhi. But Vladimir Lisin, president of the ISSF world body, said these would now go to other qualifying events.

“The International Olympic Committee informed us this World Cup will not be included in the competitions for Olympic quotas,” Lisin, himself an IOC executive member, told the tournament opening ceremony late Thursday.

“The quotas will be distributed at another World Cup. No one can be discriminated against and we have to follow the IOC decision as part of the IOC family,” he added.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

The IOC said it was deliberating on the controversy and would soon announce a decision.

Over 500 shooters are taking part in the Indian event, for which competition starts Saturday.

Pakistan, which has denied any role in the Kashmir attack, says two shooters and a coach were denied visas to attend the contest.

Lisin said the International Shooting Sport Federation and the Indian organizing committee had done everything possible to get the shooters to the contest.

But National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said he could not go against the Indian government’s decision.

Singh also insisted no final decision on the Olympic places had been taken.

“Nothing is canceled as of now. The status as of now is we don’t know,” Singh told reporters. “There are meetings that are going on where the position is being assessed by the IOC and the government.”

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Amid widespread anger over last week’s Kashmir attack, some calls have also been made for India’s cricket team to boycott its scheduled World Cup game against Pakistan in England later this year.

Media reports said Indian cricket’s governing body, the BCCI, had prepared a letter calling for Pakistan to be banned from the cricket World Cup. (VOA)