Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 13:53 UK

India reduces Olympic torch route

By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Aamir Khan with a replica of the Olympic torch
Bollywood star Aamir Khan has agreed to carry the torch for some of the route

India has decided to shorten the Olympic torch relay route over fears that Tibetan activists may try to disrupt the event.

The torch will now only be carried over a 2-3km heavily-secured route, Indian Olympic officials have said.

On Wednesday, India's foreign minister told his Chinese counterpart that the government would take steps to ensure the torch's safe passage.

It arrives in India later this month, and is due to be carried through Delhi.

The torch will be taken from the historic Red Fort to India Gate, a war memorial and city landmark.

But the 9km route has now been shortened and is expected to be only about 2-3km.

It follows advice from security agencies who say they have credible information to suggest that Tibetan activists intend to disrupt the relay.

The route will be heavily barricaded to keep protesters at bay.

Last month, Tibetan exiles managed to get into the heavily guarded Chinese embassy and the Indian government does not want a repeat of the incident.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has spoken to his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, who assured him that India would ensure that the passage of the Olympic torch was a success.

India is the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile but while Delhi offers them sanctuary, it takes a hardline stance against allowing them to carry out any political activity.

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