India to decide on Chinese guards for Olympic torch

April 11th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India has conveyed to China that the Tibetans have a right to hold peaceful demonstrations in a democratic country and that it will take a final decision on allowing Chinese security for the Olympic torch relay here next week. “It is India’s responsibility to ensure security of the Olympic torch through its territory. We have discussed the security of the torch with the Chinese,” official sources said Friday.

“Nothing has been decided, however, to allow Chinese security personnel to be part of the security ring. That decision will depend on the situation immediately before the passage of the torch relay April 17,” the sources said.

Chinese personnel formed part of the security cover for the torch relay legs through Paris and London which were disrupted by pro-Tibet protesters.

“The Chinese have been told that India is a democracy and hence can’t ban peaceful protests by Tibetans,” the sources said.

A four-member Chinese team is here to discuss security arrangements for the Olympic torch relay.

China is anxious about the safety of the Delhi leg of the Olympic torch relay, especially after Tibetan activists infiltrated the Chinese embassy compound following the reported crackdown on Tibetan protesters in Lhasa last month.

China conveyed its anxieties to India by calling its ambassador in Beijing Nirupama Rao a little before midnight last month, the sources said alluding to some media reports that made much of the Indian envoy as having been summoned at 2 a.m. in the morning.

“The Chinese anxiety was understandable as seven Chinese embassies and consulates were targeted on that particular day,” the sources said.

China has dismissed reports of being harsh on the Indian ambassador by calling her at an odd hour, and said she was treated “very respectfully”.

Last week, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan discussed the safety of the Olympic torch at a meeting where he was briefed about all measures - including reducing the route of the relay - being taken to ensure the success of the event.

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

However, a final decision on security arrangements and the route will be taken only next week.

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