Karachi: Pakistan's hockey federation said on Monday it would take part in a four-nation event in India, if the government clears it to do so, in the latest move to normalise sporting ties between the arch-rivals.
"We have confirmed participation in the four-nation hockey event in India and have applied for government clearance which we hope will come," Pakistan Hockey Federation secretary Asif Bajwa said.
The event, which runs in two legs in Chandigarh and Jalandhar, will be played from September 19-26. Hosts India have invited Pakistan, New Zealand and Argentina to participate.
India stalled bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan after Islamist gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.
New Delhi and Washington blamed the attack on Pakistani militants and Islamabad acknowledged that the plot was hatched at least partly in Pakistan.
Pakistan was replaced by New Zealand in a four-nation hockey event in 2009, but was well received by Indian crowds in the World Cup in New Delhi last year.
Bajwa said an opening is required to resume bilateral sporting ties.
"We hope hockey gives that opening which is requisite to revive sporting ties between Pakistan and India, and we feel that the situation as far as sporting ties are concerned is improving," said Bajwa, also a former Olympian.
Bajwa said plans to revive a hockey series between the two countries were also in the pipeline.
"We had fruitful talks with our Indian counterparts and... we hope that our talks to revive Indo-Pak hockey series will also be materialised," said Bajwa.
India and Pakistan were field hockey superpowers, sharing 11 Olympic titles before European nations took over when artificial turf replaced natural grass as playing surface in mid-1970s.
Pakistan's cricket team is also slated to visit India next year under the International Cricket Council's Future Tour Programme, although it depends on clearance from both governments.
The prime ministers of both countries vowed to resume sporting ties when they met at the Indian-Pakistani cricket World Cup semi-final in March.