Safety concerns when touring India or Pakistan

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We didn’t want to say anything on this subject, because we feel fairly certain it will show up our ignorance and that’s something we can comfortably highlight without remotely stretching ourself.

This issue is monopolising the cricket news though, so it deserves comment. Feel free to put us straight on any part of this.

Is it safe for England in India?

  • If the Mumbai attackers had any real interest in attacking the England team, why would they have carried out their assault at the one time when the England team weren’t in the Taj Mahal hotel? A few days earlier or a few days later England could have been there. Fact is, they weren’t.
  • It seems to be assumed that it’s safe for the Indian cricket team in India. While England are umming and ahhing about safety concerns, the Indian players are busy living in India.
  • We’re presuming that the Indian team won’t be accompanied by commandos at all times during England’s tour either. One man’s scary foreign country is another man’s home. Another billion people’s home, in fact.

Should India tour Pakistan?

  • Yes.
  • As has been succinctly outlined elsewhere, attackers with ‘links’ to Pakistan don’t represent the state of Pakistan. Even if the attackers were born and raised in Pakistan, that still doesn’t amount to an attack by Pakistan.

In each instance, if we were a cricketer, we’d fight for the opportunity to turn out in the next match. Walking out for England in Chennai or walking out for India in Karachi would be a big middle finger at anyone with a ‘them and us’ mentality about any of this.

By people with a ‘them and us’ mentality, we obviously mean those who attack others that they deem to be ‘them’. More prosaically, we also mean those who appear to consider terrorist activity on the subcontinent to be fundamentally more threatening.

India is huge

If there’s an attack within your own country, you know it’s one moment in one part of a large nation, which lends a degree of reassurance. In another country, your knowledge of that place largely derives from such incidents and you lose perspective. In reality an attack in India is one moment in one part of an even larger nation than your own.

That isn’t to dismiss or diminish the significance of an event such as that in Mumbai. Not in the least. You can’t weigh a single human life as being anything other than what it is – all any of us have. It’s just to highlight the fact that the media only reports events it deems of significance and that can give a skewed view of a place.

In India, as a whole, there is very little danger. There are some who seem to be viewing it like it’s some kind of warzone. It would be nice to see people get it together and have a cricket match to show that it’s not.


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  1. I agree with what you’re saying but if I was an England cricketer what would concern me most is how the terror situation was handled by the Indian army and police. It seemed they didn’t even close off the streets properly when raiding the hotels, it was full on cow boys and Indians (excuse the pun). That the ability of the Indian counter terrorism operations is what would concern me the most. They’re not MI5 or the SAS.

  2. The fact that they didn’t discover a bag full of bombs until five days after the siege in the train station ended, would worry me ever so slightly too…

    They seem a little haphazard in their search capabilities.

  3. Aand the british security services are so much better, like for instance when they shoot a dead a brazilan electrician.
    if you’ve ever been to the victoria terminus and seen the sheer volume of humanity that passes through you can understand how things coulod be missed.
    Surely the point is the england won’t go near any train stations.

  4. Jon, I bow to your superior ‘it seems’ knowledge of the raid situation. Maybe indians could hire you to have a few laughs at your experience. Whilst you wait for their call, you may want to suck on your dummy and think pleasant thoughts about your superior MI5/SAS. They were crawling all over the place preventing 7/7 weren’t they?

  5. The Rat, he was suspiciously rushing to catch a train though.

    The fact is, we have never had a situation in this country that can compare to the incidents in India. It’s unfair to judge the Indian army and police as we don’t know how our lot would get on under the same circumstances.

    The England cricket team should crack on, play some bloody cricket and stop whining.

  6. This is the most sensible thing that’s been posted on King Cricket for ages – what’s going on?

    India should definitely tour Pakistan – it would be one in the eye for those who want to see conflict escalated in the region.

    Chennai is 1031km/ 640miles away from Mumbai – that’s a long way. If I was in Manchester and there were bombs in Amsterdam (a mere 308 miles away), I’d still feel pretty safe.

  7. Jon, I thought quite the opposite.
    Given the insanity that Mumbai is on a normal day, I thought the Indian authorities did amazingly well.
    I find Indian cities special; insanely busy and free wheeling places, with Mumbai being chief among them in these respects. They’re not like other cities, not just compared to “the west”, but in in my admittedly limited experience also compared to other cities in south asia. I remember going to Sri Lanka after 3 months in India, it was like entering a world of calm. The same thing happened going to Kathmandu a few months later…
    Bring on the matches. Yeah, there’s danger, but only as much as there has ever been, maybe even less due to heightened secutiry. Sure, the attacks at the hotels were aimed at Brits and Yanks, and therefore exceptional, but the bombs at the train station is, in some ways, the same as it ever was for terrorism in India. is an interesting press release on the subject from the University of Maryland. India ranks BEHIND the UK in terms of the number of incidents since 1970.

    However, I’m not sure what I think about KP’s libertarian “players have free choice about coming” attitude. He should at least encourage the team to be just that: a team. But then all those political compass website put me somewhere near Stalin in these matters.

  8. i think everybody is having wrong notions that india is not going to pak for safety reasons…if that was the case we would not have toured them before…or in sri lanka when we played at the place which was at the heart of militant attacks…

    we are not going there coz our govt rightly feels that despite assurances given pak govt is not showing enough determination or urgency to tackle to curb terrorism originating emanating from their territory…

  9. Ne, don’t think they actually did target Westerners. That was a typical example of a ‘fact’ in the heat of the moment that media outlets latched upon, which then gets repeated and no-one at any point properly checks the information.

  10. KC – probably right – target Westerners hmmmm, they use well known places in the heart of Cities – but so too do the moneyed Indian classes, so why do a train station full of Indian commuters? On that note – if you were in England – did the Madrid bombings materially affect your daily life at the time? India is huge.

    The Englant team were due to play an ODI in Guwahati [yet again] a city that has regularly experienced random bombings and separatist violence for decades.

    In India you’re still more likely to be twatted by a bus or truck as you dodge a trishaw, any day. I don’t see the England team being put in that kind of danger if they go back!

  11. IT’s perfectly safe for the England team to tour India. They have all the money i n t he world to buy the security they need and I don’t think terrorists are that interested in wiping out cricketers. What political advantage would it give them?

    It’s all the nobodies like us, who move round randomly and publically, for whom India is, and always has been, a death trap. If there isn’t a bomb going off somewhere, there’s bound to be a riot, a plague, a flood, an outbreak of something extinct in the West, or just a everyday bus-off-a-cliff-all-lives-lost-accident.

  12. There is a real danger with terrorism that the terrorists achieve their fiendish aims by stealth, rather than through the actual acts of terrorism.

    Some of the pointless erosions of our civil liberties in the UK since 9/11 take us away from beiung ths ort of democtartic and free society we want to be and make us closer to the sort of “one size fits all” society that (perhaps) the terorists seek.

    Similarly, if we let terrorist attacks make us so fearful that we close all our theatres, music halls, dance halls and sports stadia, we can Medievalise our own society, perportedly in the interests of protecting the very things we shut down “for our own protection”.

    In short, I believe in principle that the show must go on and agree with KC. But within reason. If specific risks to the cricketers become apparent then safety should become paramount in those specific circumstances.

  13. on a different note. the slc are scrambling a full strength team to india for a charity game. not sure if this will actually eventuate.

    india is safe. and your post is very sensible.

    england should tour and so should india.

  14. very well written, KC!

    what you have written about india, and the notions media may end up portraying is apt and i know coz the city we are so concerned about in this post is what i call home!

    however i have a completely different take on why england shouldn’t be touring india and have written a post on the same on my web-page!

    and i agree with SP, that india is not touring for geo-political and strategic reasons and not for security ones!

  15. Thank you for finding clear, calm, correct words for the buzzing in my head.

    I wish Cricket Australia and India would read it and agree with earlier words of yours that the reason neither country tours Pakistan is MONEY and calling that ‘geo-political’ or strategic or safety conscious’ fools no one.

  16. Jon, what you saw was the police force and not the Indian equivalent of MI5 and they’re not trained to do the job of the MI5. The NSG and RAF will do just fine, thank you very much. You do have to realize that they had civilian lives to keep in mind before they fired a shot.

    Suave, the reason they didn’t find the bomb till 5 days after was because it was in the pile of baggage that was left behind by scurrying passengers.

    You guys seem to pontificate based on what footage you saw on television. Smart.

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