New Zealand diplomats fear terror attack ahead of Commonwealth Games

David Barber

Wellington (dpa) – New Zealand diplomats fear terrorists will attack a “soft target” in India ahead of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October, according to cables reported in a newspaper on Thursday.

One of the cables, obtained by the Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, said: “The pre-Games environment could be overshadowed by some form of soft target attack such as the recent attack on the German Bakery in Pune, which would be unsettling and capture media attention.”

A bomb attack at the bakery on February 13 killed 17 people, including four foreigners, and injured 65 others.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Mike Stanley this week told the country’s 195 athletes and 100 officials selected for the Games on October 3-14 to continue preparations to go.

However, he told the paper that the committee would pull out if security was “not appropriate.”

“At a point in time, we’re going to have to say: ‘Are we comfortable to have a team going to Delhi?’ That time is not now, but that is certainly a decision we will take when we get people on the ground in India,” Stanley said.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the New Zealand government was treating security arrangements for the games very seriously.

A spokesman for Prime Minister John Key said that sporting bodies involved would decide whether athletes should travel to India, but the government was keeping them advised of developments and there was high-level liaison with the police and top officials.