China is worried about safety of upcoming Olympic torch relay through India, which will arrive here on April 17 and has sought foolproof protection for it after security was breached at its Embassy in New Delhi on March 21 by Tibetan protesters. The Chinese Embassy has discussed the issue with the Indian Government for providing foolproof security for the torch, sources said. China has clearly demonstrated its unhappiness over last Friday's incident when a group of Tibetan protestors stormed into its Embassy in New Delhi as it summoned Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao past midnight to convey its concern over security of its Mission and staff. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang confirmed that Rao had been called to "express our positions and concerns" after the incident in Delhi.
Earlier, China on Tuesday urged countries on the route of the Olympic torch to ensure its smooth progress; a day after a protest marred the flame's lighting. It further termed any attempts to disrupt the Olympic torch relay as shameful. "Any act to disrupt the Olympic torch relay is shameful and unpopular," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
"We also believe that competent authorities in countries through which the torch relay will pass have the obligation to ensure a smooth relay," he added. Qin had been asked to respond to protest at the torch-lighting ceremony in Greece and the likelihood of further demonstrations along the relay route.
In Greece, three men from a media rights group breached tight security around Olympia on Monday to unfurl a banner demanding a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in August because of Chinese human rights violations.
Considering that the launch of the Olympic torch relay in Greece on Monday was marred by breach of security by Tibetans, China feels more apprehensive about its security during the Indian leg as the number of Tibetans in this country is manifold than that in Greece. China vowed to carry the Olympic torch to the world's highest peak, Mount Everest as planned, despite mounting protests by Tibetans.
The torch is to arrive on March 31 in Beijing. The flame is to be carried through 20 countries, including India to the 8,848-meter high Mt Everest in Tibet in May for the Games that will begin on August 8.
China had accused Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of "masterminding" the latest rise in protests to disrupt the Olympic Games. The Dalai Lama had, however, rejected the charge and expressed support to the Beijing Olympics. By Praful Kumar Singh