US cautions citizens against overseas travel, including India

Washington: The United States has issued a fresh travel advisory on overseas travel to its citizens, including India which "continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities."

"India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect US citizens directly or indirectly," the State Department said in its new worldwide travel alert for its citizens.

"Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the US government`s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, are active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba," it said.

"Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas," the State Department said.

US citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, the State Department said, adding that it remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas.

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organisations, and other terrorist organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East," the advisory said.

"These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings," it said.

"Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where US citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays," the State Department said.

The US, it said, continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against US government facilities, US citizens, or US interests.

"The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organisations, many of which are on the US government`s list of Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to US citizens in the region," it said.

"Terrorists and their sympathisers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where US citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Their actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings," the State Department said.