New US advisory urges its citizens to exercise increased caution while travelling to India

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The US State Department in its latest travel advisory has asked its citizens to exercise increased caution while travelling to India due to crime and terrorism in the country and also not travel to Jammu and Kashmir and within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border.

“Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism,” the US State Department said in its latest travel advisory for India that decreases the risk of travel to India from Level 3 to Level 2. The last travel advisory issued by the United States was on January 25.

The State Department’s travel advisory comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, indicating a low level of COVID-19 in India.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday (local time) has eased its COVID-19 travel advisories for India, taking it from Level 3 (high risk) to Level 1 (low risk).

The CDC in its advisory said it has changed its COVID-19 travel recommendation for India to “Level 1 (Low)” from “Level 3 (High).” CDC uses Travel Health Notices (THNs) to alert travellers and other audiences to health threats around the world and advise on how to protect themselves.

Both the advisories are indicative of the fact that the US considers that the situation in India is now returning to normal.

“Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this union territory (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh),” the advisory said.

“Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC,” the State Department said.

India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border, it said, adding that the only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan.

“The border crossing is usually open, but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only US citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before travelling to India,” it said.

*With inputs from agencies

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