India counters terror warnings to travellers

NEW DELHI - India's home minister warned against spreading "alarmist" fears of terror attacks, amid a flurry of foreign advisories discouraging travel in the country.

NEW DELHI - India's home minister warned against spreading "alarmist" fears of terror attacks, amid a flurry of foreign advisories discouraging travel in the country.

"Don't present an alarmist picture," P Chidambaram urged reporters on the sidelines of a function inaugurating 22 new police stations in New Delhi.

"We are increasing our level of preparedness to meet any terror threat or terror attack. In case of either, our response will be swift and decisive," the minister said yesterday.

His comments follow travel advisories issued by the US, Israel and Australia that cited reports of possible attacks during the upcoming Hindu festival season.

Last week, Israel said it had concrete information of plans by the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba - blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks - to hit Western and Israeli targets in India.

This week, Australia's Victoria state premier John Brumby cancelled a trip to Mumbai after a warning about attacks in the city. The festival season has witnessed attacks in the past, and this year it coincides with a number of high-profile sporting events.

Next month, India hosts the Twenty20 cricket Champions League, featuring teams from Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. - Sapa-AFP

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