Oz experts cautious about security environment for athletes in India

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Melbourne, Feb 19(ANI): Several Australian experts believe the security environment for athletes competing in India has altered dramatically in the wake of the threat by Al-Qaeda linked militants on major sporting events in the country, and the bombing at a German Bakery in Pune.

The warning comes a day after the Australian Government decided against upgrading its travel advisory for India in light of the threat issued by a wanted terrorist, Ilyas Kashmiri, against the Hockey World Cup, the Indian Premier League and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"The goalposts have moved significantly in the past week. The situation is being treated very seriously because it's a specific threat," The Age quoted a security source, who has a close involvement in sport, as saying.

The capture of Taliban second-in-command Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi is also an issue of concern for the security experts, as they believe that it could incite retaliatory attacks.

The threats are yet to prompt any withdrawals from the first of the targeted events, the hockey World Cup starting on February 28.

Meanwhile, Reg Dickason, a security consultant who specialises in cricket, is expected to submit a detailed report to the Australian Cricketers Association on Sunday.

Dickason's findings will go far to determining whether Australians involved in the IPL, which begins on March 12, will compete in the competition.

His report will conclude with an assessment as to whether player safety can be guaranteed during the tournament, but because the IPL falls outside the jurisdiction of Cricket Australia, it will e left to the individual players to decide whether or not they make the journey to India. (ANI)

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