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The security threat posed to India by the militant jihadi network in Pakistan is still "quite high" but the government is better prepared than a few months ago, the country's home minister said today.

Palaniappan Chidambaram's comments came after security concerns forced the Indian cricket board to relocate the showcase Indian Premier League abroad as the schedule clashed with India's parliamentary elections due to take place in April and May.

In an interview with CNN-IBN, Chidambaram said "a large number of security forces" were being mobilised to police the complicated voting process, which extends over several weeks.

"We are on alert and the elections will pass off peacefully," he said. "People should come out and vote. This is our fundamental right."

Since last November's terrorist attack in Mumbai, in which more than 170 people were killed, there has been more vigorous policing of likely targets across the country, including airports, railway stations and defence installations.

But India still feels vulnerable. After Mumbai, a local minister demanded that Google Earth should be banned because the sole gunman to be caught alive, Ajmal Kasab, was said to have revealed that his handlers in Pakistan had shown him Google maps to familiarise him with the city.

Indian security officials maintain that Islamabad is not doing enough to dismantle the jihadi network within Pakistan linked to the Kashmir insurgency that poses a direct threat to India.

Chidambaram said: "We are going to remain focused on this matter. We will apply pressure [on Pakistan]. We will use coercive diplomacy."
 
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