US Governments’ travel advisory to Citizens Travelling to India
India is one of the most popular tourist destinations. It has a rich culture, beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine and can be a thrilling experience. This land of Several Wonders has much to offer and can make a very exciting trip too. However, not everything is bright and colorful and they have their own internal issues. So before visiting, one should do their research properly. Try to exercise increased caution in India due to widespread crime and terrorist activities. Some areas have greater than before risks.
Do not travel to:
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir (excluding the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to violence and political discontent
- Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the probable for armed conflict.
Crimes against women and Terrorist attacks
Indian reports and authorities claim that rape is one of the most serious and increasingly common crimes in the country. Vicious offences, like sexual assault or killing, have happened at various tourist places and in other common locations.
Terrorists may also cause outbreak without any warning, and target tourist places, conveyance centers, marketplaces or shopping malls, and even government amenities. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide backup services to U.S. citizens. In certain country areas like eastern Maharashtra, parts of Telangana and even West Bengal, U.S. government employees need to have a distinct authorization to travel to these particular places.
If you decide to travel to India, try not to travel alone, all by yourself, especially if you are female. Visit the U.S. Government website for Women Travelers. Review your private security plans, and remain alert to your surroundings. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrolment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in a crisis. Follow and engage with the accounting Department of State on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Also, review the Crime and Safety Reports for India. U.S. citizens who are travelling to other countries should keep an emergency plan for extreme circumstances. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Here are some cautions to exercise in certain specific states:
State of Jammu and Kashmir
Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid travelling to this particular state (with the exemption of visiting places like the eastern Ladakh area and also its capital, Leh). Erratic violent activities occur predominantly along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, and in certain tourist places in the Kashmir Valley like Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg. The government of India forbids foreign tourists from going certain volatile places along the LOC and nearby places. Visit United States Government website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
India and Pakistan governments keep up a strong military attendance on both sides of their respective borders. The lone authorized India-Pakistan border intersection crossing point for people who are neither citizens of India or not Pakistan is in the state of Punjab which lies between Atari, India and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open, but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to beginning travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only those U.S. citizens who are residing in India can apply for a Pakistani visa while in India. Otherwise you can apply for a Pakistani visa in your own country where you reside before you start traveling to India. Please Visit United States website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Incidents of violence by ethnic rebellious groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur infrequently in the northeast. United States government staffs are forbidden from traveling to the certain states like Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Manipur without a distinct sanction from the United States Consulate General which is based in Kolkata. Please Visit United States website for Travel to these High-Risk Areas for government and non-government employees.
Central and East India
Maoist terrorist organizations, or commonly called “Naxalites,” are very active in a huge band of India ranging from 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. These Naxalites have led recurrent terrorist activities on the local police authorities, military and paramilitary forces, and even the government officials. Because of the violent nature of the threat, all U.S. government employees travelling to states with Naxalite terrorist activities must obtain distinct approval from the U.S. consulate which is in control for the zone that is to be visited. United States officials who are traveling only to capital cities of these particular states do not require any subsequent sanction.
Safety from Diseases and Infections in India
The US government’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has adapted its advice-giving against travelling to India which it had issued after Zika cases were stated in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Indian government had urged the US to “withdraw or modify” its advisory in January by providing evidence of the limited outburst in the country. Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava in his communication also provided data on human and vector surveillance for Zika virus disease in India.
They said that the communication was successful in safeguarding alteration of the travel advisory which was given earlier. The virus status of India has now been altered from ‘ongoing outbreak’ to ‘current or past spread but no present outbreak. This was mentioned in the ICMR in a formal declaration that they had made. It said that the Zika virus strain isolated from Rajasthan matches with the Brazilian Zika strain associated with outbreaks and microcephaly or Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). The ICMR-NIV Pune has initiated mice/animal studies to understand the potential of this virus to cause microcephaly or CZS.
“Preliminary reports suggest the absence of one known mutation linked with microcephaly. However, further description of the strain is required as microcephaly/CZS has several attributable causes,” the statement said. The ICMR has also initiated a study to understand the outcomes of pregnancy among women infected with Zika and also the occurrence of CZS as well as other neurological deformities in their infants. The study is being rolled out in Rajasthan in the first week of April and in Bhopal by the end of April. Attempts are also being made to advance the phase II Zika vaccine clinical trials of Bharat Biotech International Ltd. Human shadowing for Zika virus disease in India will be continued.
At the present moment, no circumstances of Zika virus infection are being conveyed from any part in India. Recently, in December 2018, the CDC, USA, had distributed a travellers’ health notification on the spread of Zika virus in India. The travel advisory depicted that India has an ongoing eruption of the disease in Rajasthan and its nearby states. The advisory also warned expectant mothers not to travel or visit areas with continuing Zika outbreaks and infections. Women who were planning pregnancy were also alerted on travel. “Such an advisory could have serious implications on travel and trade in India,” Bhargava said.
Raising concern over the advisory, Bhargava had said it created an impression that the outbreak of the disease is still continuing. Bhargava said that he wanted to draw their thoughtfulness to the fact that the Zika virus infection and outbreak in both Rajasthan as well as Madhya Pradesh have been subsided totally for some time now. There have been no further reports of new cases and the vector indices of safety are also well within the adequate limits. “I urge you to take up the matter with the concerned authorities at CDC and withdraw or modify the travel advisory,” Bhargava had said in the letter.
This is a comprehensive guide for those U.S. citizens who wish to visit India. We certainly hope that you have a safe trip and a memorable experience.
Worried about your trip to India from the USA? Don’t get panic. The travel advisory from the US Government doesn’t indicate that India is a problematic country. Millions of people from around the world visit India not just because of its cultural diversity and scenic beauty. The country is home to friendly people who are ready to accept any culture, belief and people across the world. If you’ve planned your next trip to India, book your cheapest flights tickets to India from the USA today itself