Now UK, Germany, Australia issue travel advisory to citizens

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Srinagar

The United Kingdom, Germany and Australia on Saturday issued a travel advisory to their citizens against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a day after the state administration issued a security alert in the Valley, citing intelligence inputs on attacks, reported India Today.

Tourists from European country Belgium look on as they sit inside a car to leave Kashmir in Srinagar on August 3, 2019. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The authorities on Friday in Kashmir asked the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and the tourists to curtail their stay in Kashmir and leave the Valley as soon as possible. The government’s security advisory was issued hours after the Indian Army said that militants were plotting to carry out an attack on the pilgrimage.

According to report, the UK government has asked its citizens to “remain vigilant” while travelling in Jammu and Kashmir. The UK government’s travel advisory stated: “If you’re in Jammu and Kashmir, you should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and keep up to date with developments, including via this travel advice.”

According to the reports, the British High Commission in New Delhi is also monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UK travel advisory to its citizens read: “Foreigners remain vulnerable in rural districts and outside the main population centres and tourist areas. There is a risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnappings.”

The report said that Germany, too, has issued a similar advisory to its citizens in India or are travelling to India. The advisory “strongly discourages travel to Kashmir”.

“Travel to the Kashmir area, including Srinagar, is not advised. Keep yourself informed about the security and infrastructure situation. Be especially careful when travelling to the western parts of the Ladakh region. Do not travel alone or with an unidentified guide through these areas, stop by car and do not camp in secluded spots. Avoid the immediate border areas with Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China in Ladakh,” India Today quoted the Germany government’s advisory to its citizens read.

Minutes after the UK and Germany issued a travel advisory to its citizens, Australia, too, advised its citizens to not travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

“We advise against all travel here due to the very high risk. If you do travel, you should typically seek professional security advice. Be aware that regular travel insurance policies will be void and that the Australian Government is unlikely to be able to provide consular assistance,” the Australian government’s travel advisory read.

Reacting on the Advisory Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Omar Abdullah said, “it takes years of effort to have these travel advisories diluted and the last few days have been a major setback for the tourism industry in the state.”

Taking to social networking site Twitter, Omar wrote: “It takes years of effort to have these travel advisories diluted & the last few days have been a major setback for the tourism industry in the state.”

“I was witness to 3 foreign tourists who had boarded our flight to Srinagar change their mind about the trip after seeing the government order. They walked up to the crew & demanded to have their bags offloaded,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

“The same Germany that was so satisfied with the improvement in the security environment that they organised the Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar a few years ago now issues a travel advisory to stop nationals from visiting the valley,” Omar tweeted.

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