US tells citizens “Do Not Travel” to Jammu and Kashmir

US tells citizens “Do Not Travel” to Jammu and Kashmir

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"Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir."

The United States has put Jammu and Kashmir in Level 4 of its latest travel advisory calling for its citizens not to travel to the region as “terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state.” India has been put at level 2 saying, “exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk.”

The advisory stops its citizens from traveling to the state except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital Leh “due to terrorism and civil unrest.” It has also asked not to travel within 10 kilometers of the India-Pakistan border “due to the potential for armed conflict.”

The U.S. State department while giving a brief of the situation in the state says that sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. “The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC,” the department said.

Stopping its citizens from traveling within 10 kilometers range of the India-Pakistan border, the department says that India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border.

“The only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan,” the department noted. “The border crossing is usually open, but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only U.S. citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India.”

The advisory is likely to affect the coming tourist season of in the Kashmir valley, which has seen escalation in protests and militant attacks since the civilian uprising in 2016.

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