India Hits Out At Canada, US And Other Western Countries Over Diwali Travel Warnings


NEW DELHI – India on Tuesday reacted angrily to travel advisories issued by the United States, Canada and other countries that warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks during the Diwali festival season. Security has been heightened in many Indian cities in recent days, and the advisories warned visitors to be vigilant after media reports cited an increased risk of militant attacks.

But tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay dismissed the advice as “nothing but scaremongering” that would damage the tourism industry during its peak season for overseas business.

“I have taken it up with the external affairs ministry and asked it to persuade these countries to withdraw the travel advisories immediately,” he told a media agency.

India has been hit by a series of attacks in recent years, with the latest incident in September when 14 people were killed outside the New Delhi high court. No one has been charged over the attack.

Islamist militants killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008 in a siege of the city that led to many tourists cancelling holidays to India.

The US embassy in New Delhi last week released an advisory that warned “of the continued possibility of terrorist attacks throughout India”.

It urged “citizens to pay particular attention to their personal security during the Indian holiday season”.

“In the past, terrorists have targeted markets, public transportation such as trains and public buses, religious sites, hotels, and restaurants,” it said.

Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand also advised citizens to be cautious over the festival season. Diwali will be celebrated in India on Wednesday, with other religious festivals due in the following weeks.