Sydney under Seige - Modi concern on Hostage Crisis

As many as dozen people have been taken as hostage by an unknown armed man inside a central Sydney cafe. According to a local television report, some of these have been forced to hold up a black flag with Arabic writing in the window, raising fears of a suspected terror plot linked to Islamic terrorists.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was convening a meeting had earlier warned of such terror strikes. He reportedly said there were indications the hostage situation at the Lindt Cafe was politically motivated.

'This is a very disturbing incident. I can understand the concerns and anxieties of the Australian people,' Abbott told reporters in Canberra, without providing any information on the unfolding siege.

Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and involved in action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by home-grown terrorists returning from fighting in the West Asia.

According to Sky Business television report, a Lindt Australia executive told the channel there were about 10 staff working at the cafe. Chief Executive Steve Loane also said there were 'probably 30 customers' in the cafe, although he stressed to another news outlet that he was guessing.

Meanwhile, the police has evacuated nearby buildings in Sydney's central business district.

'Specialist officers are attempting to make contact with those inside,' New South Wales Police said in a statement on the force's official Facebook page. Nearby offices have been evacuated as a precaution, police said. People in the immediate area around Martin Place, where the cafe is located, were advised to stay indoors and away from open windows.

Dozens of heavily armed police surrounded the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, home to the Reserve Bank of Australia, commercial banks and close to the New South Wales (NSW) State Parliament.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said, 'The hostage situation is with an armed offender. Not a terror activity as yet. We are looking to resolve the issue as early as possible.'

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his concern over ongoing crisis. PM Modi tweeted, 'The incident in Sydney is disturbing. Such acts are inhuman and deeply unfortunate. I pray for everyone's safety.'

India and Australia recently took their relationship forward by signing multiple MoUs in the field of security, maritime and people to people contact.

Courtesy Niti Central



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