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Basketball continues to bring the two largest democracies in the world together.

While the USA and India may be on opposite spectrums of the scale in the basketball world, the game has proven to be a crucial medium for the two countries in recent years.

As part of its newest step, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, along with the National Basketball Association (NBA), announced that 14 Indian basketball coaches have been chosen for a 10-day basketball Sports Visitor exchange. The delegation of Indian coaches will be in the US from February 17th – 27th, 2012, starting their programme in capital city Washington DC and even travelling to Orlando for the NBA All Star Game, set to be held on Sunday, February 26th.

The US Department of State has announced that the Indian coaches will be meeting US Basketball Coaches during their time in Washington, working with young American athletes, participating in basketball clinics with Special Olympic athletes, and engaging in activities that focus on team building and injury prevention.

This is of course not the first time a programme like this has been organised for the Indian coaches: in mid-2010, American basketball coach JD Walsh, who has been heavily involved in teaching basketball in India, took 10 Indian coaches to the George Mason University (GMU). That initiative was sponsored by the International Sports Initiative grant, awarded through the Sports United Division of the US state department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In recent years, the NBA has also been involved with basketball diplomacy between the US and India: A year ago, NBA legend George Gervin and WNBA player Katie Smith visited India as part of a US Dept of State sports envoy. Last month, former NBA player Muggsy Bogues came to Indiato also be part of an NBA and US Dept of State collaboration programme as part of a trip made by the US Senate India Caucus to India.

Published with permission from Hoopistani.