Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Man is again trading in his favorite commodity -- fear -- saying terorrists plan to attack 'Merican targets in India -- particularly Mumbai and Delhi. Not Mysore of course, since to them South India (thankfully) doesn't exist. The US has closed down its Mumbai consulate, asking US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security. According to the Indian news agency 123Bharath.com, "residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted." Yet the Indian stock market didn't react at all. Perhaps they noted the qualifiers: Terrorists "may" be planning attacks that "could" target US interests some time "in the near future." Sounds like the Kasmiris again....And the US gov covering its arse again (only not in the word "juicy").

Note the difference between UK and Chinese coverage:

From Bloomberg UK: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aCmDHQAbXOh0&refer=uk

U.S. Says Terrorists May Be Planning Attacks in India (Update2)

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. said terrorists may be planning attacks in the ``near future'' in the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and asked its citizens to increase security. Indian government bonds fell on the news.

Some U.S. diplomatic offices in Mumbai, India's commercial capital, are closed today as a precaution, it said. The statement made no reference to any shutdown in the capital New Delhi.

``Terrorists may be planning attacks on U.S. interests in India in the near future,'' according to a statement posted on the Web site of the Mumbai consulate of the U.S. embassy. ``Although not specific, the information suggests that an attack could be aimed at U.S. interests.''

The U.S., which has been waging a war against terrorism since the attacks of September 2001, is the target of terror networks such as al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden has threatened a ``bleed-until-bankruptcy plan.''

The 7.38 percent bond maturing in 2015 fell 0.35, or 35 paise per 100-rupee face amount, to 101.85 at 10:57 a.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield rose five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 7.13 percent, the highest since Nov. 17.

``This is an initial reaction -- purely sentiment-driven,'' said M.S. Gopikrishnan, chief bond trader at IDBI Capital Markets Ltd. in Mumbai.

Indian stocks didn't react to the alert. The 30-share benchmark Sensex Index of the Mumbai stock exchange rose 0.6 percent to 6000.22 at 11:03 a.m. local time. Mumbai is home to the top two stock exchanges, the central bank and headquarters of some of the country's biggest companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd.

Likely Targets

Places such as residential areas, schools, hotels, clubs and restaurants where U.S. citizens congregate may be targeted, the consulate said.

The alert may have arisen from intelligence reports gathered from U.S. operations in Iraq, said Ashok K. Mehta, director of research group Security and Political Risk Analysis in New Delhi.

``The intelligence agencies would have gathered information that the terrorist organization linked with al-Qaeda and other manifestations would target U.S. interest or U.S. properties outside U.S.,'' Mehta said in a phone interview. ``This is nothing new. I don't see this being related with the Pakistani prime minister's visit.''

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is visiting India for the first time today as part of efforts by the two countries to improve ties. His talks with Indian officials may include the dispute over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two and claimed by both.

India has been seeking to quell separatist movements in states such as Jammu & Kashmir. Control of Kashmir is central to the dispute between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars with each other, two over the territory.

No Disruption

Indian units of companies such as U.S.-based Eli Lilly & Co. said there hasn't been any disruption of visits from overseas.

``We have had visitors till last week,'' said Rajiv Gulati, managing director of the Indian unit, in a phone interview. ``I can't say what will be the impact in the future, but there has been no impact in the past. We are expecting visitors again in a couple of weeks' time.''

Client visits are set to take place as scheduled as of now.

``At least 20 customers are visiting us in the next two weeks, many of them are Americans -- we haven't received intimations of any cancellations,'' said Shivanand Kanavi, a spokesman for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India's biggest software company, in a phone interview in Mumbai.

Navtej Sarna, India's foreign office spokesman, didn't return a call seeking comment.

From Xinhuanet:

NEW DELHI, Nov. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Closing down the Consulate in Mumbai in west India, US Embassy here sent out Tuesday a warning that terrorists may be planning attacks on American interests in India, particularly in Mumbai and New Delhi.

    "In the light of these security concerns, the Consular section and the Information Resource Center at the American Center in Mumbai will remain closed Tuesday, the Press Trust of India quotedUS Embassy here as saying in an advisory to American citizens.

    The Consular sections at US Embassy here and the Consulates General in Chennai in south India and Calcutta in east India, however, remained open, it said.

    "Based on information received by the US government, terroristsmay be planning attacks on US interests in India in the near future," it said.

    The information suggests that an attack could be aimed at US interests in the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, it said.

    It warned that facilities associated with the United States or locations where US citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted.

    The Embassy asked US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security.

    All the staff members who reported for duty at US Consulate andAmerican Center in Mumbai were asked to go home, the Consulate said. Enditem

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