New Delhi: Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday backed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s decision to play bilateral series with Pakistan in Sri Lanka, and said the initiative to promote the relationship between the two countries should be supported.
"Whatever initiative the BCCI is taking, it needs to be supported by us. The BCCI has always been taking the initiatives for the promotion of games and also for the promotion of relationship," Sonowal told ANI.
Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla had earlier confirmed that Sri Lanka has been decided as the neutral venue for the much-anticipated series between India and Pakistan next month.
"India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka which will mark the resumption of cricketing ties between the two sides," Senior BCCI functionary Shukla told media.
Shukla's comments came hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly gave his nod for his country's cricket squad to play series against India in Sri Lanka.
The venue for the proposed bilateral series was decided after the top officials of India and Pakistan's cricket board met at headquarters of the International Cricket Council in Dubai on Sunday.
Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had proposed Pakistan to play limited-overs series against them in India in December, which include five ODIs and two T20s.
But PCB chief Shahryar Khan had refused the proposal, saying he would not compromise on players' safety.
India have not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The last time the two nations played was in 2012-13 when Pakistan visited India for a three-match One Day International (ODI) and two-match Twenty20 series.
According to a memorandum of understanding signed between the PCB and BCCI, both countries are scheduled to play six series between 2015 and 2023 after a clearance from the Indian Government.