India could join the race to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games after it was revealed that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has been invited to hold talks with the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) VD Nanavati told The Indian Express "it is likely that the prospect of India bidding for the 2024 Olympics will be discussed" at a meeting scheduled to take place in the capital New Delhi on April 27.
Bach met with IOA President N Ramachandran and sports secretary Ajit Sharan at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne last week, when he was issued with an invite, publicly to discuss the future of sport in the world's second most populous country.
It is claimed the IOA and Indian Government were initially reluctant to lodge a bid given that Tokyo, a city on the same continent, will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
But according to a source of The Indian Express, Bach said it would not be a problem hosting consecutive Olympics in Asia, insisting it "would come down to how strong the bid is and the votes they manage".
It is claimed the IOA sees it as an opportunity to restore some pride following the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, which badly damaged the country's ability to organise major events.
Widespread criticism was levelled against the organisers for the slow pace of work and countless issues relating to security and hygiene.
The aftermath was also marred by controversy with former Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games chairman Suresh Kalmadi among several Indian officials to be charged with alleged riminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.
This included awarding a contract to install the timing, scoring and results system for the event to Swiss Timing.
A bid would also come following a period of strained relations between the IOA and IOC.
The IOC suspended the IOA in December 2012 after a row broke out between the two parties linked to Delhi 2010.
It started when Lalit Bhanot, who spent 11 months in jail on corruption charges relating to the Commonwealth Games, ran unopposed for the position of IOA secretary general, while another tainted official - Abhay Chautala - became President, in elections the IOC refused to recognise.
India's suspension was lifted during Sochi 2014 following successful elections in December 2013, which saw Ramachandran replace Chautala as President and Kho Kho Federation of India head Rajeev Mehta assume the role of secretary general.
It marked the first time in Olympic history that a suspension of a National Olympic Committee had been lifted during an Olympic Games.
India has until September to submit a bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games but will have to show more decisiveness than it did in its efforts to host the 2019 Asian Games.
The New Delhi bid was abandoned in July after the IOA proved unable to meet the deadline imposed by the Olympic Council of Asia due to lack of support from the Government.
India, which has a population of 1.2 billion, is the most populous country in the world not to have hosted the Olympics.
Ahmedabad, the largest city and former capital of the western state of Gujarat, has been mooted as a potential candidate from India.
But the IOA claim they will only make a decision about which city to put forward if they definitely decide to bid.
If a bid is lodged, they will face competition from Boston, Rome and Hamburg, with Paris also widely tipped to launch a bid for what would be the centenary of the Paris 1924 Games.
Istanbul, Budapest, Baku and Doha have all been mooted as other potential contenders.
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