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|'We have been forced to think again on security'|
Friday, February 13 2004 12:41 Hrs (IST)
"Earlier when the tour was decided on, there was no evidence of transfer of nuclear technology. But recent happenings in Pakistan have made us rethink on the security of our players," Minister of State for Home Swami Chinmayanand told. He told BBC Hindi service that "we have been forced to think again. Our intelligence agencies have advised us to think again."
Chinamayanand said Indian Government had sent its own intelligence team to Pakistan to reassess the security situation in Pakistan. Besides, a three-member team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also been sent to find out if the security situation in Pakistan was conducive for Indian cricketers to play.
He said "the Indian Government will take a final decision only after its team comes back from Pakistan and submits a report." The report by the Government's security team will be final but the other report by the BCCI delegation will also be taken into account," he added.
Expressing concerns over recent events in the neighbouring country, the minister added, "even US and other countries have become cautious after this incident."
"When such sensitive and dangerous secrets about nuclear weapons can be leaked through Government channels to other countries, how can we be sure that the terrorists have not obtained the same? Chinamayanand said.
"When a person can betray his own nation, how can you be sure that he hasn't supplied the same nuclear technology to the terrorists groups?"
Chinamayanand said, "we want relations with Pakistan to improve but cannot endanger our players' lives. Our player's security is more important than cricket. Until the players' security is ascertained, the Home Ministry will not allow them to travel to Pakistan."
He said "we wanted them (Pakistan) to allow us to have our own security arrangements for players like they did when our Prime Minister travelled to Pakistan for SAARC summit in January.
"But they haven't responded positively on this. If our intelligence team feels that, the security situation is conducive and they can work with their Pakistani counterparts in ensuring foolproof security, we will be able to take a positive decision," Chinamayanand said.
Sports Ministry, BCCI keen on Pak tour