Historic cricket match to boost ties with Afghanistan

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Cricket - India v Afghanistan - Afghanistan Team's Press Conference - Bengaluru, India – June 13, 2018 – Afghanistan's cricket team captain Asghar Stanikzai (C), Afghanistan cricket team coach Phil Simmons (L) and Afghanistan's National Team Manager Shir Agha Hamkar address a news conference. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yesterday he hoped a historic cricket match between India and Afghanistan would strengthen ties between the South Asian neighbours and allies in the fight against militancy in the region.

Afghanistan started its maiden five-day test match in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru yesterday, with the match attended by top government officials from both sides.

“I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international test match. Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams!” Modi said on Twitter. “May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties.”

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India’s sports minister, Rajyavardhan Rathore, shook hands with Afghan players before the match and read out a statement from Modi.​

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