The Department of State of the United States has issued Level Two and Level Three travel advisories for those travelling to India that they must exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism.
The top US health body, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDS), issued a Level One Covid-19 notice for those visiting India saying the risk of contracting the infection and developing severe symptoms may be lower if one is fully vaccinated.
The health advisory issued by the CDC of ‘Level One’ is considered safe in the wake of the significant improvement in the Covid-19 situation in India. The CDC said, “Your risk of contracting Covid-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) authorised vaccine”.
However, the notice read, “Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to India. Travellers should follow recommendations or requirements in India, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others”.
The Level Two and Level Three travel advisories issued by the US State Department on 15 November stated that United States citizens should reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence, those going to India must exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism. The statement read that in Pakistan terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past.
“Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan. A local history of terrorism and ongoing ideological aspirations of violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilians as well as local military and police targets,” it said.
“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities,” it said.
It urged Americans not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir except Ladakh, its capital, Leh due to terrorism and civil unrest, and also within 10 kilometres of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities, it said.
The statement read according to PTI, “Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. Violent crimes, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations”.
The United States government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as US government employees must obtain special authorisation to travel to these areas, the notice said.
The department in its advisory for Pakistan urged United States citizens not to travel to Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism and kidnapping, and also in the immediate vicinity of the Line of Control due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.
The advisory said that Pakistan’s security environment has improved a lot since 2014 when the Pakistani security forces undertook concerted counter-terrorism and counter militant operations. It said that the Infrastructure has improved a great deal and that there are better resources in major cities like Islamabad to respond to emergencies as compared to earlier. Though terrorist attacks in these are rare, the threat does exist. It said that the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment.