India is safer than any other country: Chidambaram (Lead)

June 4th, 2009 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday asserted that India was a “completely safe country” after the US warned its citizens about high threats from terrorism throughout the country.
Chidamabaram reacted after the US embassy posted a message urging its citizens living in or travelling to India to practice good security, including maintaining a heightened situational awareness and a low profile. It said that terror attacks were a serious and growing threat.

Disagreeing, Chidambaram said: “India is a completely safe country. India is a safe place, it is safer than any other country in the world. Thousands of tourists come to India and we look forward to welcoming them.”

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, whose home state Kerala is a hot favourite with tourists, added: “India is the safest country.”

The advisory posted on the website Tuesday specifically asked Americans in India to be vigilant at all times and monitor local news reports and vary their routes and times while carrying out daily activities.

“Americans should consider the level of security present when visiting public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues,” the advisory warned.

“As terror attacks are a serious and growing threat, US citizens are urged to always practice good security, including maintaining a heightened situational awareness and a low profile.

“The media attention of and public reaction to the Mumbai attack could prompt other terrorist incidents. Future attacks may also target public places frequented by Westerners, including in large cities and tourist areas such as Goa.

“The US mission is concerned that increased political tension between Pakistan and India may further complicate travel in areas near their already-sensitive border.

“In addition, the Department of Defense has increased its security requirements for all its employees visiting India.”

Chidambaram said that the ministry of external affairs would be asked to speak to the US.

A US embassy official told IANS that the advisory was routine. “This is a routine advisory and it has just been updated,” he said.

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