US warns tourists not to travel to several parts of India due to 'crime and terrorism'

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The US has advised its citizens not to travel to several parts of India and exercise “increased caution” in other parts of the country due to “crime and terrorism”.

In its updated travel advisory published on 5 October, the US State Department, on a scale of one to four, put overall travel to India at level two or “exercise increased caution”.

Level one is “exercise normal precautions” while levels three and four are “reconsider travel” and “do not travel” respectively. The level four status has, however, been issued for at least 17 states and one Union territory across India.

The country has a total of 28 states and eight Union territories.

The advisory also said rape was “one of the fastest growing crimes in India”.

“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,” it read.

Citing civil unrest and terrorism, the state department told American tourists to not travel to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, except the Ladakh region.

It suggested against travelling within a 10km radius of India’s border with neighbouring Pakistan due to the “potential for armed conflict”.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-old dispute between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both countries since the partition in 1947. Both nations control only parts of the region.

“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities,” it stated.

The state department also asked citizens to avoid travelling to India’s northeastern states because of the “occasional” incidents of “violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets”.

It also forbids US government employees from visiting seven northeastern states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur – without prior authorisation.

Rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand states and the bordering area of the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha in central and eastern India were added to the “do not travel” list as well, citing Maoist extremist groups as the reason.

“The Naxalites [as the groups are called] have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials,” it said.

The American travel advisory for India comes just a week after Canada urged its citizens to “avoid all travel” to Indian regions within 10km of the border with Pakistan, citing the “presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance”.

The Canadian travel advisory asked its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution” due to the “threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country”.


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