'Do Not Travel To J&K': US Travel Advisory To Citizens

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Washington- The US has issued a level two and three travel advisories for India and Pakistan, saying while American citizens are urged to reconsider travel to Pakistan due to militancy and sectarian violence, those going to India must exercise increased caution due to crime and militancy.

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

"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," it said.

"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities," it said.

The US 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 US 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.

"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.

"Terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past," the advisory on Pakistan said.

"Pakistan's security environment has improved since 2014 when Pakistani security forces undertook concerted counter-terrorist 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.

The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment, it 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.

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