India sends troops to guard Goa party season | india | Hindustan Times
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India sends troops to guard Goa party season

india Updated: Dec 23, 2008 14:29 IST

AFP
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India deployed extra soldiers to the resort state of Goa on Tuesday to counter fears that militants could target thousands of foreigners celebrating year-end festivities there.

Goa has already banned its famous beach parties over Christmas and New Year due to security concerns following the Mumbai attacks, and navy and coastguard patrols have been stepped up.

But other festivities and celebrations have been given the go-ahead, and crowds of revellers have already begun to arrive in the state.

Ajay Chaturvedi, spokesman for India's central reserve police force, told AFP that nearly 400 extra troops had been sent to Goa from elsewhere in India.

"The state government is not very well-equipped because they have limited resources and forces. On that basis the government of India has given them the additional personnel," Chaturvedi said.

Some 2.6 million tourists visit Goa each year, including about 400,000 foreign visitors from colder climates keen to soak up winter sun on the state's sandy beaches.

Some foreign governments, including Britain, Australia and the United States, amended their travel advice for India after the Mumbai attacks, while Israel and Russia specifically warned their nationals to stay away from Goa.

Local authorities increased maritime security patrols mindful that the Mumbai gunmen, who killed 163 people, arrived by sea.

The state has recently been at the centre of controversy after a 15-year-old British girl died on a beach earlier this year after consuming a large quantity of alcohol and drugs.