By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has set India a September 1 deadline for a new election to facilitate the country's return to the Olympic fold.
The IOC banned the country in December after refusing to recognize the results of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections due to government interference, which led to a tainted official being named its secretary general.
During crucial meetings in Lausanne this month, India assured the IOC of the Olympic movement's autonomy in the country in a first step towards mending relations and also discussed a roadmap towards getting the ban overturned.
"We believe that those meetings were fruitful and productive and, with the cooperation of all components and stakeholders of the Olympic Movement in India, will pave the way for a prompt resolution of the issues at hand," the IOC said in a letter, seen by Reuters.
The ban meant an end to funding from the IOC for the country, no Indian officials attending Olympic meetings and Indian athletes banned from competing at the Olympics under their country's flag.
The IOA will have to hold an extraordinary meeting by mid-July to make amendments to its constitution before holding the elections, the letter from IOC director general Christophe De Kepper said.
"The IOA shall hold an Elective General Assembly (no later than 1 September 2013) to elect the new office-bearers of the IOA," the letter added.
"The election process will be conducted by the election commission in a free, fair and transparent manner based on the newly revised constitution of the IOA and the Olympic Charter, and will be placed under the supervision of the IOC."
The roadmap set for India was as per the discussions held in the IOC headquarters this month, Tarlochan Singh, a long-time IOA vice-president and a member of the delegation to Lausanne, told Reuters.
"We need to sort out a few technical aspects and the date for the extraordinary meeting will be announced by the first week of June," Singh said by phone.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)