Every year, more than 300,000 Canadians embark on the trip of a lifetime and head to India for an adventure. It is a particularly popular destination for foodies, backpackers, and anybody who is interested in totally immersing themselves in a completely different culture. While travelling to India can be perfectly safe, the Government of Canada has issued a new warning about India, and are urging them to avoid all travel to certain parts of the country.
Updated on Thursday, the latest advisory from the Government of Canada warns that all travel should be avoided in a number of Indian cities, while in other areas in the country only ‘essential’ travel is recommended. The updated advice comes due to terrorist activity and violent demonstrations in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian-administered Kashmir has been declared unsafe by the Government of Canada after the Indian government stripped the region of its special constitutional status on Monday. Since then, the region has been on lockdown, with phone networks and internet cut off and unavailable. There are tens of thousands of troops present on the streets, and according to the travel advisory, there is a real threat of violent demonstrations in the area.
The advisory warns, “there are risks of civil disorder and acts of terrorism in many districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Indian army has special powers in this state. The security threat level remains high.”
The statement from the Government of Canada continues, “Civilians have been killed or injured during such attacks. You could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
According to the government website, if an avoid all travel warning has been issued, there is an 'extreme risk' to your personal safety and security. The advisory explains that nobody should travel inside the zones mentioned and notes, "if you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so."
It is worth noting that the advisory does not warn against all travel to India, but does recommend using a high degree of caution across the country, “due to a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country at all times.”
Other areas in India that are deemed unsafe and listed as “avoid all travel” by the Canadian government include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar, due to significant conflict there.
The recommendation also says to avoid all travel to areas within 10 kilometres of the Indian-Pakistan border in Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan, due to the possibility of landmines and unexploded weapons.
In a tweet, the Government of Canada advised any Canadians currently in these areas remain aware at all times and follow the advice of local authorities.
Full details of all of the areas in India that have travel recommendations can be found here.