The Indian Travel Advisory issued by the US highlighted terror attacks, sexual and Maoist violence as major concerns for American travellers coming to India.
In its latest Indian travel advisory, the USA has highlighted ‘rape’ as a major concern and put India in the ‘Level 2’ category of travel destinations.
The advisory issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the US State Department has asked American travellers coming to India to exercise ‘increased caution’ as it said, “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations”.
“Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations,” the advisory stated. Apart from sexual offences, the advisory also referred to the rise in terrorism, insurgency by ethnic groups and Maoist violence as some of the other reasons why Americans should exercise caution while travelling to India.
Earlier in 2018 and 2019, America has asked native women travellers exercise caution as it highlighted sexual assault as a concern in its travel advisories.
Travel advisory cautions against travelling to northeast, central and eastern India
The travel advisory has cautioned Americans against visiting the northeastern part of India due to the “incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets which occur occasionally in the northeast.”
Additionally, the American government employees are not allowed to travel to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorisation from the US Consulate General in Kolkata.
The advisory asked travellers to exercise caution in central and eastern India as Maoist extremist groups or Naxalites are “active in large swath” in these parts. It has advised travellers against going to ‘eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha.
“The Naxalites carried out frequent terrorist attacks against local police, paramilitary forces and government officials”, he said, adding that “due to the fluid nature of the threat; all US government travellers to states with Naxalite activities; must receive special permission from the United States consulate office for the area to be visited.”
Fear of terrorist attack and civil unrest in Jammu and Kashmir
The advisory has asked the American citizens to avoid citizens in some popular tourist spots in Kashmir due to impending terror attack threats and civil unrest. “Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (except for visiting in the eastern region of Ladakh and its capital, Leh),” the advisory said.
The advisory also talked of “strong military presence” on both sides of the India-Pakistan border and refrained travellers to visit those areas. It further added, “Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in the tourist destinations of the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign travellers from visiting certain places along the LOC.”