SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia expressed confidence in India's preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Thursday, but said its own efforts to protect the national team would be the largest ever mounted for the event.
The country's Commonwealth Games chief Perry Crosswhite has just returned from a pre-games summit in India and said he was heartened by progress on security, including the hiring of 8,000 new local police.
"We came away with... the feeling that they're right on top of the security planning right now," Crosswhite told reporters, according to the AAP newswire.
"They have given us a commitment they'll do everything necessary to ensure the Games are secure and that athletes and people who come to Delhi will be able to watch the Games in a secure situation."
However, Crosswhite said Australia still intended to provide back-up of its own to ensure the safety of athletes outside venues and the Games village.
It would be the largest security operation ever mounted for an Australian Commonwealth Games team, he said.
Chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said he was confident Games venues would be very safe and secure.
"It's the safest place in the world to be, at a major championship, because you've got such a security presence there," Moneghetti said.
"The venues and the city itself will be a very safe place to be."
Security concerns have grown in the subcontinent after 166 people were killed in militant attacks in Mumbai last November. In Pakistan in March gunmen ambushed a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, leaving eight people dead.
Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were also injured in the incident, following which the International Cricket Council abandoned plans to hold a part of the 2011 World Cup in Pakistan.
Tennis Australia pulled its Davis Cup team out of a tie in Chennai last month citing security fears, but Crosswhite said he had been assured by the sport's body that they would take part in the 2010 Games.
New Delhi is only the second Asian city to be awarded the Commonwealth Games. The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur hosted the 1998 event.