‘Potential for armed conflict’: US advisory asks citizens to avoid Kashmir

Armed forces near a Military Operation site in Pulwama. [FPK File Photo/ Qayoom Khan]

The US has issued level two and three travel advisories Kashmir, saying while American citizens are urged to reconsider travel those going to India must exercise increased caution, Deccan Herald reported.

In its advisory issued on Monday, the US State Department had urged US citizens “not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir due to terrorism and civil unrest”, and also within 10 kilometres of India-Pakistan border due to the “potential for armed conflict”.

For India the advisory flagged rape and violent crimes. “The Indian authorities report that 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,” it read.

The notice said that “the US government had 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”, Deccan Herald reported.

The department in its advisory for Pakistan urged US citizens not to travel to Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally, Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

“Pakistan’s security environment has improved since 2014 when Pakistani security forces undertook concerted counter-terrorism and counter militant operations. There are greater security resources and infrastructure in the major cities, particularly Islamabad and security forces in these areas may be more readily able to respond to an emergency compared to other areas of the country. While threats still exist, terrorist attacks are rare in Islamabad,” the advisory said.

Indo-Pak relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August 2019.

The move angered Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties with India and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Deccan Herald reported.


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