Thursday, April 22, 2010

Australia Warned Citizens to Avoid New Delhi Markets

Australia has not upgraded its travel advisory on India ahead of October's Commonwealth Games, but has warned tourists to avoid some of the city's shopping areas and markets.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travelers' website on Thursday to give information about the new warnings issued by the United States and Canada a day earlier.

The warnings come as thousands of athletes and tourists prepare to travel to New Delhi for the games and only days after bomb blasts rocked Bangalore ahead of the Indian Premier League semifinals.

Two blasts outside Chinnaswamy Stadium, where the Bangalore Royal Challengers and the Mumbai Indians played Saturday, injured 14 people.

The new Australian warning highlights the dangers posed by crowded areas which foreigners are known to frequent, including six of the city's shopping areas and markets.

``According to these warnings, specific and credible information suggests that markets ... could be targeted by terrorists in the coming days or weeks,'' the department's website states.

``We strongly advise Australians to minimize their presence in market areas of New Delhi.''

Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Mehrauli and Sarojini Nagar are all believed to be possible targets for terrorist attack in the Indian capital, the website says.

Australia, however, has not upgraded the overall level of advice on India, continuing to urge travelers to exercise a high degree of caution while in the country.

On Tuesday, an organizing committee official said security plans around the games will be ``foolproof'' and potential threats had already been identified and thwarted.

T.S. Darbari, joint director general of the organizing committee of the Commonwealth Games, rejected suggestions competitors' family members and supporters will be at risk outside protection perimeters which will surround games venues.

``Delhi is very, very safe (and) secure, not only for the sports people who are coming but also for their families and for the tourists,'' Darbari said.

He said security precautions for the Oct. 3-14 games were unprecedented.

``I know what the plan is that is being formulated, I can't share the details, but let me tell you it is foolproof,'' he was quoted as saying in Sydney.