Gerry Sutcliffe_2August 24 - Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe (pictured) has apologised to his counterpart in India after England's withdrawal from the World Badminton Championships earlier this month.

England controversially pulled out of the event in Hyderabad on the eve of the Championships because they claimed that they had received a "specific terrorist threat", which was denied by the Indian security forces.

The decision focussed more attention on security at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next year, which is already concerning foreign teams.

Badminton England said had said their decision followed media reports of a specific Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist threat, referring to the Pakistan-based militant group blamed for November's attack on Mumbai in which 166 people were killed.

Sutcliffe called India's Sports Minister M.S Singh Gill last Friday and assured him of England's support when Delhi hosts the Commonwealth Games next year, a Government official there has claimed, although he defended the right of the team to withdraw.

The Indian Government spokesman said: "On Friday, he called Dr Gill to [express] regret after the English shuttlers went home Hyderabad in a hurry.

"Dr Gill told his counterpart that Badminton England's decision to withdraw was uncalled for.

"In his response, the UK sports minister assured full support for next year's Commonwealth Games."

Badminton England's chief executive Adrian Christy has also expressed regret at the pullout in a letter to India's badminton body, it has been claimed.

He wrote: "I am aware our decision is likely to have increased scrutiny on the championships and placed additional pressure on the authorities.

"For that, I apologise."

England's team were looking forward to visiting India in October 2010 for the Commonwealth Games, he added.

Britain's withdrawal shone the spotlight on South Asia's ability to host global events safely, and security concerns have heightened across the region since the Sri Lanka cricket team bus was ambushed in Lahore, Pakistan, in March. India remains nervous after the Mumbai attack.