Oz Foreign Minister to discuss Commonwealth Games preparation during India visit

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Perth (Australia), Mar. 1 (ANI): Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith left the Western Australian capital of Perth this morning for India, where he hopes to discuss Commonwealth Games preparations with the concerned Indian Government and sports officials.

Smith is also expected to watch Australia compete in the World Hockey Cup during his three-day trip, the Age reports.

"I want to have conversations with relevant Indian ministers about the planning for the Commonwealth Games. I'll also be inspecting some of the Commonwealth Games facilities," he told ABC TV on Sunday.

Smith played down security concerns, despite a militant group earlier this month warning against sending athletes to the Indian Premier League cricket, hockey's World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

"It is a most regrettable fact of modern life that at any major sporting event ... there is a threat of terrorist or other attack and we have to be absolutely vigilant," he said.

"The conclusion we've come to ... is we don't regard that threat as a credible threat," he added.

Smith said the federal government was providing the latest information on India's security situation to relevant parties.

"It's a matter for individual athletes or sporting bodies to decide whether they take part (in competition) or not," he said.

It is likely Australia's own security situation will also be discussed, following attacks on Indian students this year and last.

Smith said the Indian government understood much of the violence was not racially motivated.

"At government or official level, there is a very much an understanding that behind these attacks is not an all-pervading racism," he said.

Smith later confirmed in a statement he would brief the Indian government "on the actions taken by authorities to create a safe and rewarding study environment for Indian students in Australia". (ANI)

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