Chinese coming to India to study security for Olympic torch

April 7th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Chinese officials are coming here next week to work out foolproof security for the Olympic torch here but Indian officials say they can very well protect the games’ symbol on their own. India Monday assured China that it was committed to providing security to the Olympic torch as it passes through its territory April 17, notwithstanding fears of street protests by Tibetans.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma clarified that the government has not got any proposal that the Chinese wanted to provide security to the torch procession in India.

“There is no proposal as such. Indian security agencies are capable of ensuring safety of the Olympic torch relay,” Sharma told reporters here.

“We will give due respect to the torch and are committed to providing security to the torch.

“I don’t want to comment on developments in foreign countries,” Sharma replied, when asked about China’s anxieties in the wake of protests during the torch relay in London Sunday and disruptions in Paris Monday.

“But even if such a suggestion (China sending a security team to ensure the safety of the torch relay in India) were made, India will never accept it,” an official who did not wish to be identified told IANS.

A team of Chinese officials is arriving in India next week to work out a security plan with the Indian Olympic Association and the security establishment for the torch relay.

“We have been told they are coming to Delhi to work out the details of the route and the nature of security deployment. But we will be in charge,” said an intelligence official.

National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan has taken stock of the situation at a meeting where he was briefed about all the measures - including reducing the route of the relay - being taken to ensure the success of the event.

“Security on the route will be comparable to that of the Republic Day parade,” an official said.

The relay here was originally slated to be from the Red Fort to India Gate. The route has been cut from nearly nine kilometres to a little over two kilometres. It will now start at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and end at India Gate, in the heart of the capital.

Officials are not saying how many sports personalities would take part in the relay.

Last week, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee assured his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi that India will do “everything possible” to ensure the success of the Olympic torch relay.

He also reiterated India’s position that Tibet is a part of China.

Earlier, Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo spoke to Narayanan after Tibetan protesters managed to enter the Chinese embassy compound.

In a subtle balancing act, India has said that while the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is an “an honoured guest”, the Indian government does not allow Tibetans to indulge in anti-China activities on its territory.

There are estimated about 100,000 Tibetan refugees living in India. The Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile is based in the north Indian town of Dharamsala. It is not recognised by any country.

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