New Delhi - The 19th Commonwealth Games were declared open on Sunday in a spectacular opening ceremony which might repair some of the damage to India's image after a calamitous buildup to the sporting festival.
The preparations for the $6bn event, dubbed the "friendly games", have been marred over the last few weeks by a series of setbacks to India's ambition of showing off its soft power on the international stage.
Organisers are hoping to put all that behind them over the next 11 days of sporting competition between mostly former British colonies, although there were boos for chief Games organiser Suresh Kalmadi.
"I am delighted to declare the Games open," said Britain's Prince Charles, who was greeted with chants of "India! India!" before he read out a message from his mother Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth.