The government has put Delhi Police on alert after the US embassy - followed by other Western foreign missions Thursday - warned of possible terror attacks in well-known and crowded markets in the Indian capital.
A home ministry official said the government was "aware" of such threat perceptions and was taking them "seriously". "We are aware of these threats and have alerted Delhi Police to stay on guard to prevent any attack," home ministry spokesperson Onkar Kedia told IANS.
The alert was sounded after US information that terrorists were planning to target foreigners, particularly American nationals, in some Indian cities.
This triggered travel advisories from other Western foreign missions as well, asking citizens not to venture into crowded and popular markets in the city.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the warden message issued by the American embassy Wednesday "a prudent warning" but gave few details. "It was just a caution to our citizens within the American community that we have growing concerns about terrorism and it might affect both Indian citizens and American citizens."
India and US intelligence agencies usually share terror related information as India remains on guard against terrorist strikes and prepares to host the Commonwealth Games in October.
The Australian High Commission Thursday increased its alert level to "high degree of caution" - the third highest level, echoing the warning of the US embassy.
"According to these warnings, specific and credible information suggests that markets, including Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Mehrauli, and Sarojini Nagar could be targeted by terrorists in the coming days or weeks," the advisory issued Thursday said.
"We strongly advise Australians to minimise their presence in the market areas of New Delhi," it added.
The British high commission noted there are "increased indications that terrorists are planning attacks in New Delhi".
The advisory also reminded British citizens that terrorists had targeted places visited by Westerners. Further, Delhi markets like Greater Kailash, Ghaffar market and Sarojini Nagar were hit by bomb blasts in 2005 and 2008, it pointed out.
The Canadian High Commission issued a separate, but similar security alert.
All the foreign travel advisories gave guidelines to be extra cautious in crowded and public places.