India decided today to pull its 126 athletes out of the Commonwealth Games in coordination with actions of African "front-line" states, adding another pressure point on British refusal to implement economic sanctions against South Africa.
The withdrawal of the Indian team, which would have been the largest contingent at the games, was announced today, bringing the number of boycotting nations to 24.
Foreign Ministry spokesman G. Parthasarathy was quoted as saying that the decision had been taken "in keeping with our policy of solidarity with the front-line states."
A message to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher yesterday had threatened the boycott but left open the possibility of a last-minute reconsideration should Britain make a "categorical statement" that it would impose sanctions against South Africa over its policy of apartheid.
A subsequent British statement said London would stick to its position, and tonight the decision not to attend was announced.
Forty-eight countries originally had been expected to attend the games due to open Thursday in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Bangladesh already has announced its intention to pull out and Sri Lanka is expected to do so. Pakistan quit the Commonwealth after Britain recognized the former East Pakistan as an independent Bangladesh.
Other nations that have announced withdrawal include Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.