US issues travel advisory for subcontinent during WC

Washington: The US has asked its citizens to be alert while travelling to the Indian subcontinent during the ICC cricket World Cup tournament, cautioning that such big events are always soft targets for militants.

As cricket`s biggest tournament opened in Dhaka, the US State Department issued a travel advisory asking its citizens living or travelling to the host countries — India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — to be conscious of safety and security issues.

The advisory noted that there was no specific terrorist threat to the ICC World Cup, but advised caution as such big events are considered soft targets.

"The Department of State alerts US citizens travelling to or residing in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to safety and security issues related to the ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held in those countries between February 19 and April 2, 2011," it said.

In a statement after the mega cricket event kicked off, the State Department said while the US government has no specific threat information regarding the Cricket World Cup, high-profile events of this nature can be targets for terrorist attacks.

Observing that local authorities in the country where individual matches are held are responsible for security arrangements for the ICC Cricket World Cup, it said US citizens should monitor local news reports and consider the level of security present when visiting public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and recreation and sporting venues.

The State Department also reminded its citizens about the worldwide travel alert it had issued about American nationals on January 31, which also includes South Asian countries.