Evening Standard

The Delhi Commonwealth Games will probably go on. The Indians have too much pride at stake and the Commonwealth Games Federation does not have the courage or the ability to stop them at this late stage.

A better leadership, particularly from the Indians, should have prevented this catastrophe. The preparations for the Games have always been fraught but the hope was that the Indians would catch up. When they failed, the organisers should have realised that cancellation would have been preferable to this damaging drip-feed of Indian incompetence.

But the Indians have been so obtuse that, responding to criticisms that the athletes’ village was not up to human habitation, one of them commented that cleanliness standards in India were different from the rest of the world.

We are back to India of the Sixties, then a country of shortages, where nothing worked and whose lavatory facilities were heavily criticised in VS Naipaul’s devastating book, An Area of Darkness. The Commonwealth Games are showing that, in some ways, India has not moved on. In many areas, it still finds it impossible to meet world standards.

The Games might go on but nobody will now believe talk of the shiny new India that was meant to be showcased by the Games.


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