14 Feb 2010

High alert in India after bomb attack

5:03 pm on 14 February 2010

A blast that tore through a crowded bakery popular with foreigners in western India has killed at least nine people and injured 53.

One foreigner was among those killed and another was wounded, but their nationalities were not immediately known.

The blast, in the city of Pune, 200 kilometres southeast of Mumbai, has threatened to damage new efforts to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan.

Hindu nationalist leaders are already putting blame for the explosion on India's Muslim neighbour.

India's Home Secretary GK Pillai says the blast at the German Bakery, near the Osho Ashram, a renowned meditation centre, was likely caused by a bomb.

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The explosion marked the first such significant attack in India since the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 which killed 166 people, and comes only a day after India and Pakistan agreed to meet for high-level talks in New Delhi later this month.

India suspended a four-year-old peace process with Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks, which were blamed on Pakistani-based militants.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Pune attack.