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Games not a terror target, says Australian association chief

Australia's Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) chief Perry Crosswhite on Monday dismissed specualations that the shooting incident near Old Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque was linked to the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2010 15:37 IST

Australia's Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) chief Perry Crosswhite on Monday dismissed specualations that the shooting incident near Old Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque was linked to the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

Th ACGA chief said Sunday's attack has not prompted a review of the security plans laid out for the Games. But he was seeking briefings on the shooting which injured two Taiwanese nationals at the Jama Masjid on Sunday.

"According to the authorities here, it is not Games-related and our own federal government has not found it necessary to change its travel advisory for India," Crosswhite said in statement here.

"At the moment we do not see a need to change our planning which continues to maintain a high level of security awareness. We will continue to take advice from our own consultants, from the Australian government and, most importantly, the relevant Indian authorities."

"We are conscious, in the light of the Australian government's advisory, that incidents of this type may occur in India and therefore should not give rise to an increased level of concern. The ACGA remains of the view that there is an acceptable level of security being provided for our 2010 Commonwealth Games team in Delhi," Crosswhite said.

Following the attack on the tourist bus from which the visiting foreigners were alighting when the two Taiwanese nationals were injured, the Australian government updated the travel advisory for India and the Commonwealth Games.

However, the essence of the Australian travel advisory remained unchanged.

"Australians in Delhi should be aware that the Commonwealth Games will be held in a security environment where there is a high risk of terrorism," the advisory said.

Indian Mujahideen, a terrorist organisation is suspected to be involved in the gunfire incident.

The terror outfit warned of further attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, but Australia's federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib said the government's advice remained for people in Delhi "to exercise a high degree of caution". Arbib himself is set to attend the Games.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said Delhi Police believed there was no motive for the mosque attack but the athletes still have the choice of competing in the Games or not.

"The decision on whether to attend the Games is one for individuals to make. Ultimately, the Indian government was responsible for security of the Games, the spokesman said," DFAT spokesman said.

Crosswhite and some other Australian Games officials are in Delhi to oversee the state of the Games' Village and the security situation before the nation's 600-strong contingent of athletes and officials start arriving by Sep 23.