Wellington: New Zealand officials in India
anticipate a terrorist attack on a "soft target" ahead of the
Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, according to a diplomatic
note published today.
However, New Zealand Games chief Mike Stanley told
athletes it was still too early to say whether it would be too
dangerous to take part in the October event.
The possibility of a terrorist attack was detailed in
diplomatic cables released to the Dominion Post newspaper
relating to visits to New Delhi by New Zealand High Commission
After one mission, between February 28 and March 13,
officials told Wellington: "The pre-Games environment could be
overshadowed by some form of `soft target` attack such as the
recent attack on the German bakery in Pune, which would be
unsettling and capture media attention."
Seventeen people, including four foreigners, were killed
and 65 injured in the February 13 attack on the bakery,
located in a tourism hot-spot.
The Commonwealth Games would be held in "a high-threat
environment", the officials in New Delhi said.
"The general security situation in India is stressed.
Terrorist attacks, especially on softer targets are likely to
New Zealand is sending 195 athletes and 100 officials to
the Games and Stanley has told athletes they can pack their
bags for New Delhi but may have to abort their journey if
security considerations require it.
"At a point in time, we`re going to have to say: `Are we
comfortable to have a team going to Delhi?` That time is not
now, but that is certainly a decision we will take when we get
people on the ground in India," Stanley said.
Sport Minister Murray McCully, who released the
information, said the New Zealand government was treating
security arrangements for the Games "very seriously".
A spokesman for Prime Minister John Key said decisions on
whether athletes should travel to India were up to the
sporting bodies involved.
However, the government was keeping them advised of
developments, and there was "high-level" communication between
the sporting organisations, police and the prime minister`s