1. Home
  2. India
  3. Australia Changes Tone, Says Satisfied With

Australia Changes Tone, Says Satisfied With CWG Preparations

New Delhi, Sep 28: Australia, which has been severely critical of Commonwealth Games arrangements, today expressed satisfaction over the preparations and sought to downplay the remarks of its Prime Minister Julia Gillard cautioning her countrymen
PTI September 28, 2010 17:14 IST
PTI
New Delhi, Sep 28: Australia, which has been severely critical of Commonwealth Games arrangements, today expressed satisfaction over the preparations and sought to downplay the remarks of its Prime Minister Julia Gillard cautioning her countrymen while travelling in India.

 Three days after India took exception to Gillard's comments with regard to security here, High Commissioner Peter Varghese said "I don't think we should read too much into it" as she only stated the "factual material" in the travel advisory.

He said Australian authorities are "impressed" with the "strong commitment" and "vigour" on their part with regard to security arrangements.

 Noting that Games preparations have been a "high-profile issue" in Australia, Varghese said, "In our system, that (making such a statement) is a typically normal thing for the Prime Minister to do at a time when there is a high level of public interest and the Prime Minister's comments were related to factual material in the Australian travel advisory."

 Gillard had last week said, "Our travel advice has made clear that there is a high risk of terrorism in New Delhi and since 2000 there have been at least 14 major terrorist attacks in New Delhi."

Reacting to this, India said terrorism recognises no boundaries but there was no need for concern as adequate measures had been taken to ensure security of the visitors.

Asked about the Games preparations, Varghese expressed satisfaction and said a big contingent of sportspersons from his country is expected to participate in the event.

"Some athletes have already arrived yesterday. I think, by and large, they are satisfied with the arrangements and the accommodation. It has been a good start," he said.

The envoy was satisfied with the security arrangements in Delhi, particularly at the Commonwealth Games Village.

"We have also been in very close consultations with Indian authorities on security arrangements. We see a very strong commitment on the part of the authorities to ensure safe and secure games.

"We have been impressed with the vigour in which they are pursuing and planning and the resources are being put into the security arrangements," he said.

Asked about reports of some Australian athletes pulling out of the Games, he said it was possible that individual athletes may pull out for one reason or another but said a "very large Australian team" is expected to arrive here.

On whether Australian Government was satisfied with the health-related issues, particularly about the steps taken to contain dengue, he said authorities concerned and Organising Committee are taking steps which "we appreciate." PTI