US India Travel Alert Based on Indian Threat Reports

Washington, Oct 20 (IANS): The US says its latest India travel alert was based on recent Indian government advisories and local media reports indicating terrorist attacks possibly being planned during the current holiday season.

"So it's really just an effort on our part to do due diligence and to alert folks of the heightened (threat) so that they're more aware of the possibility," State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters Wednesday in response to a question.

"Let me just say that we do alert US citizens of the continued possibility of terrorist attacks throughout India during the Indian holiday season, which includes Hindu, Islamic, and other religious and secular holidays between October and January," he said.

The new travel alert expiring Jan 20 next year is "in addition to the current standing travel alert, but we also note that this period has been a period in the past where there have been terrorist attacks, and certainly there's upcoming anniversaries of terrorist attacks in India", Toner noted.

In response to another question about Pakistan, the spokesman said it remained the US policy that "we need good relations between Pakistan and India" for increased stability and peace in the region.

"We need good, constructive relations between India and Afghanistan, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, so that all three countries can prosper and increase stability and peace in the area."

"Certainly, an important element of that in Pakistan and elsewhere is strengthening democratic institutions and democratic governance," Toner said.


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