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Aussies ok with security for Hockey WC, IPL
Australia's statement comes as a big relief for India.
New Delhi: Australia says it is satisfied with security arrangements made by India for the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi and other major sporting events to be held in the country.
"I am satisfied with efforts to ensure the safety of Australian athletes in India following threats by al-Qaeda-linked militants. It's a very regrettable fact of the modern era that there are always security risks whether they're conducted in Australia or whether they're conducted in India," said Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.
Australia's statement comes as a big relief for India, which is scheduled to host three major sporting events - Hockey World Cup, Indian Premier League and the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
There were worries over Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami chief Ilyas Kashmiri's warning that international sporting events scheduled to be held in India would be targeted.
However, the Centre denied that there were any specific threats.
Special Secretary for Internal Security UK Bansal told CNN-IBN that extensive plans have been worked out for safety of the players who will be coming to take part in the sporting events.
"Apart from what has appeared in media on behalf of Ilyas Kashmiri who has spoken about targeting sporting events, there is no such specific threat to specific events. However, we are not recommending any sort of complacency to the security forces because these are hi-profile events. To a large extent the safe conduct is important for the image of the country," said Bansal.
"Extensive and very detailed plans are being worked out to provide best possible security to venues and to people who will be watching it and to the players. The objective is clear that we don't want to have anything that would jeopardise the security of any sporting event in the country," he added.
New Zealand, in fact, had held back its team's departure for the Hockey World Cup while Australia, England and Canada had sought an assessment of the threat level.
Even Pakistan decided to send a recce team to assess the security arrangements.
Security has been very tight in Delhi, with even the Indian team remaining off limits for the media.
Moreover, the ongoing India-South Africa cricket series is also being oplayed under very tight security following intelligence reports of terror group trying to target the venues where the matches are being played.
Jaipur Police on Thursday reportedly received intelligence inputs warning of a terror strike during the first One-Day International between India and South Africa on February 21 in the city.
Security has been tightened at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium where the ODI is to be played.