Indian media: Blasts at Buddhist shrine could have been prevented

Buddhist monks in northern Indian town of Allahabad held a vigil against the blasts in Bodh Gaya
Image caption Buddhist monks in Allahabad city held a vigil against the blasts in Bodh Gaya

Media in India feel better intelligence and policing could have prevented the serial blasts at a Buddhist shrine in the eastern state of Bihar.

Two people were injured in nine explosions at the Bodh Gaya temple complex, one of the holiest Buddhist shrines, on Sunday in what India's home ministry called a possible terror attack.

The Asian Age, in an editorial, says "the nine serial blasts… should never have occurred if India's security template was half as good as it pretends to be".

The Hindustan Times says "terrorists shattered the peace of the world-renowned Mahabodhi temple and surrounding pilgrim spots in Bodh Gaya… despite numerous intelligence alerts of such an attack".

"That the terrorists slipped through and managed to plant at least eight bombs despite such warnings only highlights the inefficiency of the police and the security apparatus," The Times of India says.

Moving on to foreign affairs, India has decided to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an Asean+6 grouping which aims to emerge as a significant free trading bloc, despite China's reservations, The Times of India reports.

"Asean countries, many of which have had territorial spats with Beijing in the South China Sea, look upon India as an important partner, not least Malaysia which is fast emerging as a crucial economic partner for India," the paper says.

Staying with foreign affairs, India is also eyeing the lucrative energy sector in Burma (also known as Myanmar), The Asian Age reports.

"Indeed, seven Indian companies are currently in the fray in Burma for acquiring 18 onshore oil and gas blocks," the paper says.

Troop makeover

Meanwhile, the army is raising the fitness bar for its officers and soldiers, reports The Pioneer.

Officers up to the age of 55 - rather than the earlier limit of 50 - will now have to clear fitness tests to be eligible for promotion.

Besides, troops will also have to be found sufficiently fit before their commanding officers are promoted.

In further military-related news, the Border Security Force (BSF) - which guards India's frontiers - has decided to recruit women officers for the first time in its history, the Zee News website reports.

"Deputing women as leaders surely sends the message that they are second to none and can do any task given to them," the websites quotes a BSF official as saying.

Hrithik Roshan recovering

Meanwhile, The Hindu has praised the public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) for its contribution to the flood-relief work in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

The station provided crucial information to stranded tourists and locals after all other means of communication, including phone networks, were cut off, the paper added.

In an inspiring story, the Business Standard reports how Mumbai-based Partho Bhowmick is training blind people as photographers.

"These people can create a mental description of everything they are familiar with. Recognising different sounds and capturing them, feeling the warmth of the sun or source of light and photographing accordingly. They have strong senses and they build up on that," Mr Bhowmick told the paper.

Moving on to sports news, India has clinched a gold medal after an impressive win at the 4X400 relay at the 20th Asian Athletics Championships held in the western city of Pune on Sunday, the Deccan Herald reports.

The victory qualifies India to participate in the World Championships in Moscow.

And finally, Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan's fans will be relieved that he is now safely recovering after undergoing neurosurgery to remove a blood clot in his brain, reports The Times of India.

"While the exact cause for his ailment is not known, it is being suggested that the clot is a result of some of the death-defying stunts that the actor has done in a couple of his recent films," the paper says.

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