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India promises games security, but concerns remain

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 09:43

New Delhi: India’s top interior security official on Monday promised tight security for October’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, but warned that militants could target other parts of the country.

The assurance came from Home (Interior) Secretary G.K Pillai just a week after a bomb in the western city of Pune underscored the challenge of securing all of the sprawling country of 1.2 billion people.

That attack, which killed 15 people and is suspected to have been carried out by home-grown Islamists, was the first major militant strike since the 2008 attacks on Mumbai.

“I can’t say that somebody will not sneak in,” Pillai said, “... but in Delhi he will find it extremely difficult.”

Pillai’s comments come after reports that Islamist militants had threatened to disrupt the Games, prompting some participating nations to question security.

Pillai ruled out any “credible threats”.

“They can have some nuisance value like doing something like the Pune blast ... to try and scare away people. That’s the primary purpose of their objective.”

Pillai said the biggest danger came from a possible lone attacker rather than a coordinated assault by a group of militants.

“The real challenge is the lone wolf ... somebody who is not known,” he said.

New Delhi is also hosting the 12-team hockey World Cup from Feb. 28 to March 13 and then gearing up for a popular Indian cricket tournament beginning the same month.

Securing these sporting events is seen as a key challenge for the Indian government amid reports that some cricketers want the tournament moved to South Africa.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 09:43
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