- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

NEW DELHI (AP) - A terror attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in neighboring Pakistan and the weekend decision to shift the lucrative Indian Premier League overseas has not dented the confidence of New Delhi 2010 organizers of hosting a safe and secure Commonwealth Games.

The IPL failed to come to an agreement with the Indian government over its match schedule, which clashed with federal elections and had the potential to stretch security forces too far.

So moving the Twenty20 tournament wasn’t a reflection of the strength of domestic security, New Delhi 2010 vice president Randhir Singh said Monday.

Singh, secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association and of the Olympic Council of Asia, said 2010 Commonwealth Games organizers had planned “the highest-level of security.”

“We’re confident of the security arrangements during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi,” Singh said. “The security plans are being closely monitored by a high-powered committee headed by the country’s top Home Ministry bureaucrat.”

The Commonwealth Games _ scheduled for Oct. 3-14 _ will be the biggest sporting event hosted by India, surpassing the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.

New Delhi was chosen to host after several failed bids, becoming only the second Asian city to be allocated the games. Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, hosted the 1998 edition.

“Top-level security will be in place for athletes and spectators. We’ll make no compromises in delivering a smooth and safe Commonwealth Games,” he said.

The recent attack by gunmen on Sri Lanka’s cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed six police and injured seven members of the team, raised questions about security for sporting events in the region, with next year’s Commonwealth Games among the most prominent.

“Terrorism is a global threat and should be treated as such. Who could ever imagine a 9/11 or that a tragic event during the Munich Olympics could ever occur,” Singh said. “New Delhi was among the few cities in the world which witnessed a smooth passage of the Beijing Olympic torch relay, unlike the ugly incidents witnessed in some parts of the world.”

Singh said security would be tested during a series of trial events.

The Commonwealth Games security overview is being led by New Delhi’s police commissioner, Y.S. Dadwal, who will get support from federal and state security agencies.

The London-based Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is also monitoring New Delhi’s security planning. CGF chief executive Michael Hooper has said that the security arrangements for the games were on track.



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