Washington: In one-of-its-kind soccer visitor program, organised by the United States, young female students from India and Pakistan are striking a cord on the football field.

Organised by the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Sports United Division, the first India and Pakistan dual country soccer exchange program is aimed at encouraging the members of the delegation to share their experiences, learn about the United States through the lens of sports, interact with young American athletes and meet with US sports professionals.

The Assistant Secretary of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State, Ann Stock, said sports has the ability to bring people together.

"Sports has an unique ability to break down barriers and peacefully bring people together for greater understanding,.

"On Tuesday, young female athletes from India and Pakistan have come together to forge new friendships on and off the soccer field," said Stock.

Chinta Anjani Rashmitha, a 12th standard student of Chennai's P S Senior Secondary School, said this was a life time experience for her.

"India, Pakistan and the United States are coming together because of sports. This is going to be a life time experience, which I will never forget," she said.

Rashmitha, who is sharing a room with a Pakistani colleague, said, "They (girls from Pakistan) are so friendly.

We get along with each other very well."

 A Pakistani player, Mamoona Shah said that through sports "trust can be build" between the two countries.

"Sports has an universal language," said Shah.

Tanya Thomas, a second year student from Mumbai's St Xavier College, said it was great to learn how football can help in one's life.

"Sports can play a big role in bringing people together. I did not expect them (Pakistani colleagues) to be this kind. They are very friendly people. They are excellent players," said Thomas.

Ayeza Waheed, A-level student from Roots School System in Islamabad, praised the US effort for bringing the two Asian neighbours together.

"It is really a very good thing. This would improve the relationship. They (Indians) are all very nice. I love them," said Waheed.

"I think there no problem between the people of Pakistan and India," she added.


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