We can't have links with Islamabad: Anand

Three-time World chess Champion Viswanathan Anand on Friday said the prevailing circumstances weren't conducive to continue (sporting) links with Pakistan.

updated: December 19, 2008 12:01 IST
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New Delhi:

Agreeing with the government's stance of not sending the team to Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, three-time World chess Champion Viswanathan Anand on Friday said the prevailing circumstances were not conducive to continue (sporting) links with Islamabad.

"It's easy to understand the decision. It would be highly insensitive to the victims (if the team goes to play in Pakistan), we can't have any links with Islamabad in the present circumstances. It is a completely normal decision and it applies to any sports," Anand told reporters here.

India's cricket tour of Pakistan was on Thursday officially scrapped after the government refused to grant permission in the aftermath of the Mumbai massacre, carried out by people from the neighbouring country.

But Anand advised people to stay calm in such a critical situation as he felt terrorism was aimed at attacking the confidence of people and countries.

"It's most important that people in the country be calm. Essentially terrorism is creating panic in people's mind. So it should be looked after that the society is not turning on itself," said the Chennai-born, who visited the capital for the first time after retaining his World Championship title in Bonn, Germany, by defeating Russia's Vladimir Kramnik.

"It is simply a strategy to affect the victims' confidence. But you've to deal with it objectively and with practical details," he added.

Asked how exactly terrorism could be tackled, Anand first quipped: "If I knew I would have slain many gunmen long ago." But on a serious note he suggested measures like "you need to give police a better equipment as it (terrorism) had become a global phenomenon now".

Having said that, Anand felt like terrorism, deadly diseases and hunger were also important issues and needed to be dealt with urgently.

"All diseases and hunger are killing more people than all the terrorism in the world. These problems are also as important," he said.

Anand, who is based in Spain, is the only chess player in the world to have won the World Championships in all the three formats of the game - knock-out, round robin and matchplay. Anand is also reigning supreme in the world in the Rapid version of the game.