India

India pulls warships from Calcutta 'after terror alert'

INS Sumitra Image copyright Indian navy
Image caption INS Sumitra was one of the warships moved back into the sea

India's navy has withdrawn two warships from the eastern port of Calcutta after intelligence agencies warned of a terror attack plot.

The navy said the ships had been ordered back into the sea because of "operational reasons".

But a Coast Guard official said that they had received a warning about a possible attack on the port.

The move came two days after a suicide attack close to Pakistan's only border crossing with India killed 50 people.

Two warships, INS Khukri and INS Sumitra, had been docked at the port in Calcutta for the public as part of ceremonies in the run-up to Navy Day next month but were moved back to the sea on Tuesday, navy spokesman Captain DK Sharma said.

"Like every year, the ships will return as and when the opportunity exists," he told the AFP news agency.

The move came as the city and the port were alerted about a possible terror attack, reports say.

"We received a fax on Tuesday afternoon from central intelligence agencies warning of the possibility of a terror attack in Calcutta, especially in the port area," senior Indian Coast Guard official BN Mahato said.

"We have deployed hovercraft to intensify [a] night-long vigil in the Bay of Bengal."

Although no details of the alert were available, Calcutta police chief Surajit Kar Purkayastha said security had been tightened at the port and parts of the city on the basis of "alert" by federal intelligence agencies.

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