New Delhi, Apr 3: India's junior Foreign Minister Anand Sharma has assured Beijing of smooth and safe Olympics torch relay in India. "The Government of India has a clear commitment and in the spirit of Olympics, we will guarantee the security of the torch," said Sharma while talking to reporters here today. The torch will reach national capital New Delhi on April 17 after a 130-day relay. India, which hosts Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile, has seen a wave of protests since China's crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in Tibet in March.
The country's football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, a Buddhist, has already refused to carry the Olympic torch in protest against China's actions to suppress unrest in Tibet. But Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan remained committed to participating in the event despite receiving several requests to boycott the Olympic torch relay, as he wanted to keep the Beijing Olympics separate from the issue of human rights violations. Meanwhile, the Olympics torch has already made its first stop over at Kazakhstan's biggest city, Almaty, amidst tight security, its first official stop in the international leg. The flame's next stop over is Istanbul. It is due to return to Beijing on August 6.