Bomb attacks at Bangalore cricket match raise concerns over C'Wealth | Asia Pacific

Bomb attacks at Bangalore cricket match raise concerns over C'Wealth

Bomb attacks at Bangalore cricket match raise concerns over C'Wealth

Posted 19 April 2010, 20:43 AEST

A terrorist attack in India has again raised the question of the country's capacity to hold a secure Commonwealth Games.

At the weekend a double bomb blast outside an International premier league cricket game in Bangalore injured 14 people. Two more bombs were defused outside the stadiums. Indian premier league organisers say security will be tight for the remainder of the tournament. But they've moved the finals, due to begin on Wednesday, from Bangalore to Mumbai. The Australian Commonwealth Games Association says despite the latest attack, it has faith that the Commonwealth games will be safe.

Presenter: Thea Dikeos

Steve Hooker, Australian Olympic pole vault champion; Michael Carmody, Security analyst; Perry Crosswhite, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Association

THEA DIKEOS: Olympic pole vault champion, Steve Hooker, was today selected as the captain of Australia's track and field team for the Commonwealth Games. He says the weekend bomb blasts in Bangalore have not dented his or his team mates' enthusiasm for competing in New Delhi in October.

STEVE HOOKER: Everyone here is very excited to be going to India. I don't think anyone that got selected today is thinking about not going so we're all looking forward to it.

THEA DIKEOS: The games are generating more than just excitement.

Security analyst Michael Carmody is worried about any athlete going to the games.

MICHAEL CARMODY: No, I definitely wouldn't. Unless at the end of the day the threat profile shifts dramatically, I consider the threat, which is essentially the intent and capability of organisations that wish to disrupt not only the games but India itself, is too concerning. I certainly wouldn't get on the aircraft.

THEA DIKEOS: However the chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games, Perry Crosswhite, says there are no plans to stop the Australian team from going to New Delhi. He says that the situation in India is being monitored.

PERRY CROSSWHITE: We take advice from those people which we believe do know what the position in India is and I'm talking about both from the Indian security authorities but also from our own government, our High Commission, our, the agencies that they engage and employ and also of course the intelligence agencies that we have in Canberra. So my view is that they're credible and they're accountable and that's the people that we'll be taking advice from.

THEA DIKEOS: But Michael Carmody wants greater transparency about what authorities know about the security threat in India. He wants to know what criteria is being used to judge when it's just too dangerous to go there.

MICHAEL CARMODY: My concern is that whenever this exercise invariably raises its head year after year after year be it cricket or be it football or be it the games or Commonwealth Games, we never appear to get very clear direction on how that risk is being managed and I believe, at the end of the day, you know the Government specifically has got to, you know, allow us some insight into this risk management process. What determines go or no go?

THEA DIKEOS: Do you think the information that we're getting so far from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association is enough? They keep reassuring us that they are getting information which suggests that it's okay to go?

MICHAEL CARMODY: Well, it certainly doesn't reassure me. I mean it's all well and good to provide the usual marketing spin in the papers and indicate to everyone that all is well but I think I, and certainly the Australian public and most importantly, the athletes and the officials going to the games, need some quantifiable evidence on what this is based.

This is not rocket science. I mean many organisations evaluate that profile and do a threat assessment. They have very firm criteria in place that determines essentially a go or no go type scenario. I believe we need to be across that, we need to understand that and we need to apply it rigorously.

THEA DIKEOS: But the chief executive of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, Perry Crosswhite, is reluctant to be drawn into specifics.

PERRY CROSSWHITE: Well, I'm not getting into hypothetical questions. The situation is that the games have been held always unless there's been a war and some people would say that this is a war but certainly from the point of view of the Commonwealth Games Federation, the games' continuing to take place. We will be part of it.

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