Toronto: Terming as "unwarranted" and "unfair" the criticism of India`s Commonwealth Games` preparations, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Saturday said running down the country was unacceptable and warned the sceptic nations of economic consequences.
He said that India as an economic powerhouse should be engaged with "respect", and rejected the international criticism of his country`s preparedness to host the Games.
“It would be a mistake not to engage with India with respect, and when it comes to business, whose loss (would it) be?" Sharma asked, reminding India`s trade partners that there could be economic consequences.
He described the intense criticism as "unwarranted" and "unfair". "There is no major project anywhere which is concluded to perfection... Trying to run down the country is not acceptable to us," he told mediapersons in Ottawa.
Sharma pointed out that Canada too faced similar criticism in the past when it hosted the Winter Olympics. Dismayed at the suggestion that India would fail to appropriately welcome guests, the minister expressed confidence that the event will be remembered.
"We have very rich cultural traditions, and we know how to receive our guests. Our guests will be welcomed, and the Commonwealth Games will be rejoiced and remembered," he said.
A string of pullouts by star athletes in the backdrop of security and health concerns have marred the build up to the Games in New Delhi. The events in the run up to the Games, including a dengue breakout in an extended monsoon, a collapsed bridge near the main Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, and an attack on foreigners, have prompted international criticism.
Some nations, particularly Australia, Canada, Scotland, England and New Zealand have raised serious concerns for the event, and criticised the organisers for shoddy preparations.
Some athletes even delayed their departure to Delhi citing the `unlivable` conditions in the Games village. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates even said that India should never have been awarded the hosting rights of the Commonwealth Games and Prime Minister Julia Gillard reminded athletes about the terror threat in