WC final: Indian officials plan to invite envoys at UN mission

"We're celebrating cricket, we're celebrating sports and India's entry into the final," said Hardeep Singh Puri, India's envoy to the UN, told PTI. India play against Sri Lanka in the World Cup final at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium on Saturday.

Top envoys of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka yesterday gathered at the Indian mission in the UN to watch the World Cup semi-final. Palitha T B Kohona, the Sri Lankan ambassador, said that his country was watching the game "very carefully" because the winner would play against his country in the final match.

Kohona also noted that it was "great" that two teams from the Indian sub-continent would play in the World Cup final. "It (cricket) has become a uniting factor in a region that is often a victim of tension and suspicion," he said.

India beat Pakistan by 29 runs in the match, which has been called "historic" as it is the first time that the two arch-rivals played against each other in a semi-final of the World Cup. Describing it as a "glorious day," Pakistan's envoy Abdullah Hussain Haroon said that the cricket stadium in Mohali had seen some "good cricket".
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watched the game with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Mohali.

The build-up to the match was accompanied by discussions about whether the goodwill on the cricket playing field would also be reflected in diplomacy between the two countries. Following the match, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India and Pakistan should put their "ancient animosities" behind them and a "permanent reconciliation" was required so that the two neighbours "live with dignity and honour".

"We should put our ancient animosities behind us to attend to the problems of our nations," he said.

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