India increases security after Israel, Australia warnings

NEW DELHI Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:28pm IST

Palaniappan Chidambaram in New Delhi in this November 24, 2008 file photo. India said on Tuesday it was increasing security to thwart possible militant strikes in the country days after Israel and Australia issued warnings to its citizens to avoid travelling to Indian cities. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

Palaniappan Chidambaram in New Delhi in this November 24, 2008 file photo. India said on Tuesday it was increasing security to thwart possible militant strikes in the country days after Israel and Australia issued warnings to its citizens to avoid travelling to Indian cities.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Tuesday it was increasing security to thwart possible militant strikes in the country days after Israel and Australia issued warnings to its citizens to avoid travelling to Indian cities.

Israel and Australia have issued travel warnings to its citizens based on intelligence inputs on militant strikes.

"We are increasing our level of preparedness to meet any terror threat or terror attack," Palaniappan Chidambaram, the home (Interior) minister told reporters in New Delhi, when asked about the country's security worries.

"Don't present an alarmist picture. We are fully aware of the threats from across the border," Chidambaram said, replying to questions on the foreign intelligence reports.

Australia's Victoria state Premier, John Brumby, cancelled his trip to Mumbai this week after the Australian government issued a travel warning to avoid Mumbai.

Brumby, on a official trip to India, will now stay in Delhi and Bangalore, an Australian High Commission official said in the capital.

Security has been tightened with more checking in shopping malls, government buildings and important landmarks in Maharashtra state and its main city of Mumbai, which goes to state polls in October.

Last week Indian officials said they were in contact with Israel after a television report said Jerusalem had a "pinpoint" intelligence tip-off about Pakistani militants attacking India in the coming weeks.

India is a popular destination for Israeli holidaymakers.

Foreign tourists at two plush hotels and a Jewish centre were among the several targets attacked by 10 gunmen in last November's militant strike on Mumbai, which India blames on Pakistani nationals.

India asked its border forces to increase patrols after intelligence reports said about 300 Pakistan-based militants were trying to sneak into India through the Kashmir border.

Pakistan-based militant groups usually step up efforts to push their members into Indian Kashmir before winter snow blocks the Himalayan mountain passes.

"In case of a terror threat or terror attack our response will be swift and decisive," Chidambaram said on Tuesday.

(Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

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