Britain warns of terror threat in India


New Delhi : Australia and Britain Monday warned their citizens about possible terror attacks in New Delhi but Taiwan underplayed the shooting of two of its citizens in the city a day earlier.

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Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said there was a “high risk of a terrorist attack” in New Delhi to coincide with the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

The advisory came a day after two gunmen sprayed bullets at tourists alighting from a bus at the gate of the 16th century Jama Masjid, leaving two Taiwanese injured and triggering a scare in the city.

Australian Federal Sport Minister Mark Arbib urged Australians to closely watch the travel advisories.

“At the moment, the travel advice urges Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in India including New Delhi. We receive reports of possible terrorist attacks in New Delhi, Mumbai and other cities,” said Arbib.

Britain issued a similar warning.

“There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Terrorists have targeted places in the past which Westerners are known to visit, including public places such as restaurants, hotels, railway stations, markets and places of worship,” the British High Commission here said.

Britons were told to be extra careful while travelling on public transport including buses, trains and the metro.

In Taipei, the foreign ministry urged Taiwanese to mind personal safety in India but did not issue a travel alert.

Nearly 30,000 Taiwanese visit India every year for sightseeing or business — and also to visit Buddhist sites and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

“This is an isolated incident. It will not affect Taiwan people’s interest in visiting India,” DPA quoted Yeh Ting-lin, chairman of the Shih Chun Travel, as saying.

“Terrorist attacks usually target Americans and Europeans. Generally speaking, Taiwan tourists are safe,” he said.

An Australian official, however, pointed out that there would be some 100,000 security personnel in New Delhi during the Games that will see the participation of 7,000 men and women from 71 countries and territories.

It will be India’s biggest sporting event after the 1982 Asian Games.

In New Delhi, Taiwanese Ko Chang and Ku Ze Wei, both in their 20s, were said to be stable after being shot in the head and stomach Sunday morning.

The gunmen sped off in their motorcycle.

Roger Henning, a security consultant in Australia, said there was a 80 percent chance of terrorists attacking the Commonwealth Games. He said the Australian team would have protection but it could still be vulnerable.

“The biggest risks are the road transfers from the airport to the village, from the village to the venues, and it is another massive risk if athletes wander around Delhi in their uniforms or tracksuits because it is about as obvious as a hump on the back of a camel,” Henning added.

No one claimed responsibility for the Sunday shooting. But within hours, the Indian Mujahideen outfit issued a statement threatening to attack the Commonwealth Games.