There might have been delays and lapses in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, but External Affairs Minister S M Krishna says the troubled event will be "off to a flying start" once A R Rahman renders the welcome song on October three.
Speaking at the Asia Society here, Krishna assured the world community that the Games would be a success and hoped that the athletes will be satisfied with the preparations.
"This much I can assure you as an Indian and as a minister of the external affairs of India that on October 3 when A R Rahman starts with his welcome orchestra, I think we will be off to a flying start," Krishna said in response to a volley of questions on the Games.
The Games will be inaugurated on Sunday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
Krishna, however, admitted that there have been lapses in the run-up to the mega event in Delhi, and attributed some of the problems to the unusually long and heavy monsoon in northern India this year.
"We did not anticipate that the monsoons will be so prolonged and so heavy and as a result of that the preparations got delayed but the news that is coming out of New Delhi in the last two days that things are improving," he said.
"The athletes have started coming to New Delhi and they will be very pleased with the arrangements," he said. Krishna, who is in New York for attending the opening session of the General Assembly, has responded to several queries by the Indian and foreign media about the problems associated with the Games.
Several comparisons have been made of India's failure to get its act together against China's spectacular conducting of the Olympics and South Africa's successful holding of the Football World Cup earlier this year.
Krishna said the criticisms might have been glaring in the pre-Games period but ultimately what would matter is how the event was held and staged. "This has been said about every international athletic event before it starts... questions are always asked and doubts are always expressed... the ultimate proof is eating of the pudding," Krishna said.
"I am going to be back here again next year and then you can put to me this question how well we conducted the Commonwealth Games," the External Affairs Minister said.