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India picks Kochi for Musharraf's visit
George Iype in Kochi | March 14, 2005 11:09 IST
Last Updated: March 14, 2005 11:55 IST
The Indian government has sent an invitation to Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf to watch the India-Pakistan one-day encounter at Kochi in Kerala on April 2.
After the Pakistan president expressed his desire to watch a match of the on-going series, India said the president was welcome. However, a decision on which match Musharraf would watch was pending.
Earlier, Indian government officials had hinted that the Pakistan president would come down to either Kolkata for the second Test beginning March 16 or for the one-dayer scheduled in Delhi for April 17. In fact, hectic security preparations had been undertaken in Kolkata.
But on Sunday National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and India's High Commissioner to Pakistan Shivshankar Menon discussed the venues and opted for Kochi. They then apprised Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh of their decision.
As soon the PM approved the choice, the external affairs ministry was told to send a letter to the Pakistan government. "We have sent the letter to Pakistan. We expect the response from the Pakistan in a day or two," an official in the ministry told rediff.com.
A final decision on whether Kochi will host Musharraf will be taken only after the reply is received, the official mainly security considerations were responsible for the choice of Kochi over Kolkata.
Kochi's Jawaharalal Nehru Stadium can seat 80,000 spectators.
The Pakistan president may also be invited to stay in any of Kerala's tourist hotspots during his visit.
More reports from Kerala