Indian PM warns of imminent militant attack

Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:44pm EDT

By Bappa Majumdar

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s prime minister on Tuesday warned of a fresh militant attack and urged the armed forces to take measures to tackle security challenges nearly two weeks days after a bomb attack on its embassy in Kabul.

“There are regular intelligence reports of imminent attacks in the country. This is a matter of deep concern, and there is no room for complacency,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a conference of the country’s combined armed forces.

“The terrorist attack on our embassy in Kabul on October 8 is yet another grim reminder of the forces we are pitted against,” Singh said.

The overall security situation in the region, he said, had worsened.

The Kabul blast, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, killed 17 people but harmed no embassy staff.

Singh said India had taken steps to strengthen its intelligence network and policing to thwart any attacks since the Mumbai attacks last year, which it blames on Pakistan-based militant groups.

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

Australia’s Victoria state Premier, John Brumby, canceled his trip to Mumbai after the Australian government issued a travel warning to avoid Mumbai.

India has always accused Pakistan-based militant groups of orchestrating attacks on India and Singh told defense heads on Tuesday that both “state” and “non-state” actors were involved in militancy, without elaborating.

“We have, therefore, to improve our defensive mechanisms against all forms of terrorism, asymmetric warfare and aggravated militancy,” he added.

India suspended a 2004 peace process with Pakistan after last November’s attack on Mumbai that killed 166 people, saying it could be resumed only if Pakistan acted to dismantle the “terrorist network” on its soil.

New Delhi blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants who it said were supported by some official agencies. Pakistan denied official involvement, but accepted that the attack was partly planned on its soil.

(Editing by Ron Popeski)

[original]

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