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Security Briefing: Threats to Safety and Security

The information below has been excerpted from the following: 1) the US Department of State's "International Travel" website (, 2) the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's "Smartraveller" website (, and 3) the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's "Foreign Travel Advice" website ( Additional information is available from these sources. World Trade Press annually assesses the information presented on this page.

Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice


We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the risk of terrorist activity by militant groups. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security threats. Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere at any time in India with little or no warning.

We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India. Terrorist attacks sometimes involve multiple, consecutive explosions. Many past attacks in Indian cities have been indiscriminate rather than directed against a particular target, with the aim to inflict multiple/mass casualties.

In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets. In the past, terrorists have targeted areas frequented by tourists including hotels, markets, tourist sites, transport hubs, religious sites, and Indian security and political establishments. Attacks have also targeted local courts, sporting events, a cinema and local transport networks. These risks apply in all of India’s cities and tourist centres. Take into consideration the level of security provided when deciding where to visit. Security arrangements at airports have been enhanced, reflecting the threat of terrorism to Indian aviation interests.

The Indian Government has in the past issued public alert warnings about possible terrorist attacks. You should take such alert warnings seriously and avoid any areas identified as a possible target of attack.

Major secular and religious holidays and periods of religious significance, such as Ramadan, Eid, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Eve could provide terrorist groups an opportunity or pretext to stage an attack. You should also be vigilant in the period surrounding days of national significance, such as Republic Day (26 January) and Independence Day (15 August), and other notable anniversaries and observances as militants have in the past marked such occasions with attacks.

India’s national elections will be held in April and May 2014 and may become a focus for terrorist activity. You should be vigilant in the period leading up to, during and immediately after the elections. See Civil unrest/political tension section below.

Terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir have actively targeted foreign nationals for kidnapping in the past, although there have been no reported kidnappings of foreign nationals in Jammu and Kashmir since July 2000. The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Amarnath Shrine, conducted from June to August, has been the target of a terrorist attack in the past.

On 14 March 2012, two Italian nationals were kidnapped in Odisha (Orissa) state. For more information about the general threat of kidnapping, see our Kidnapping threattravel bulletin.

Maoist insurgents (or ‘Naxalites’) are active in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, primarily targeting the Indian Government and security forces, infrastructure and government buildings. Civilians, including foreigners, have been kidnapped, killed and injured in suspected Maoist attacks. Maoists may also call strikes in local areas affecting rail and road transport networks.

Terrorist attacks have also occurred in the state of Rajasthan; in Ahmedabad in Gujarat; outside a market in Alipurdar, West Bengal; and in Chhattisgarh.

Recent incidents of terrorism include: 

  • On 28 February 2014, six security personnel were killed when ambushed in Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh state.
  • On 27 October 2013 multiple bomb explosions targeting a political rally in Patna killed six people and injured at least 80.
  • On 26 September 2013, there was a coordinated attack on a police station and an army base in Jammu and Kashmi.
  • On 7 July 2013, nine blasts occurred at the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in Bihar State in northern India injuring five people.
  • On 24 June 2013, an attack on an army convoy on the airport road on the outskirts of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, killed eight soldiers and injured several others.
  • On 17 April 2013, a bombing at a political office in Bengaluru, Karnataka state, injured 16 people.
  • On 13 March 2013, an attack on a police camp in the Benima area of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, killed five policemen and wounded several others, including civilians.
  • On 21 February 2013, bombings in public places in Hyderabad killed more than 20 people and injured 80 more.

In November 2008 more than 170 people, including two Australians, were killed in a series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai. The targets included two luxury hotels, the Oberoi-Trident and the Taj Mahal Palace; a Jewish centre; the Victoria Terminus railway station; a hospital and a cafe.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

Violent protests and demonstrations occur frequently throughout India. Civil unrest and communal violence has in the past claimed a significant number of lives. Australians could be caught up in attacks directed at others. You should avoid locations where protests and demonstrations are being held as they may become violent. You should be aware that international events, political developments in the region and local events can trigger demonstrations in India.

National elections will be held in India between 7 April and 12 May 2014. The election schedule is available on the website of the Election Commission of India . Local public offices will be closed on voting days and there may be disruptions to public transport. Security is likely to be increased in major cities, especially around polling stations.

Due to the risk of violence, you should avoid all political rallies and other election-related activities. The elections may become a focus for terrorist activity. Naxalite insurgents have called for a boycott of the elections and there is a heightened risk of Naxalite attack on government and security forces, with the greatest risk in Chhattisgarh.

In the event of a protest or demonstration you should monitor international and local media for information concerning your safety and security and follow the instructions of local authorities. You should obey any curfews imposed by the authorities in response to civil unrest. Local demonstrations can begin spontaneously and escalate with little or no warning, causing disruptions to local transportation systems and city services, and can pose a risk to travellers.

Religious ceremonies and gatherings attended by large crowds can result in dangerous and life threatening stampedes. In response to such events, Indian authorities may impose curfews and restrict activity in the affected location.

Outbreaks of anti-Christian violence have taken place in India. Religious missionary activity may attract resentment and is illegal without an appropriate visa. In January 1999, an Australian missionary and his two young sons were murdered in the eastern state of Odisha (Orissa).

Andhra Pradesh: There have been sporadic, sometimes violent, protests and strikes in the State of Andhra Pradesh, including in the capital Hyderabad, in relation to the planned formation of a separate state of ‘Telangana’. Further protests and strikes are possible, which may result in disruption to government and transport services. Australians are urged to avoid any protests, to monitor developments in the state through international and local media, and to follow any instructions given by authorities.

North-eastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur: We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to the north-eastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur. If you do decide to travel to these areas, you should exercise extreme caution. Armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion and terrorism occur frequently in these states. Insurgent groups have attacked civilians and bombed buildings. There is also a risk from insurgent groups in rural areas of these states.

In July 2012, inter-communal violence in the Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts of Assam reportedly caused a number of deaths and injuries. There are reports of displacement and disruption to transport services. Various districts have put curfews in place. Further violence may occur.

Manipur has experienced extensive disruptions from general strikes and blockades. In November 2011, a 100-day blockade resulted in acute disruptions to essential services and shortages of food, medicine and fuel.

Jammu and Kashmir - Ladakh region: We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state. All travel to the region should be via Manali, or by air to the region’s main city of Leh, in order to avoid potential trouble spots elsewhere in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir - Cities of Jammu and Srinagar (including the Jammu-Srinagar highway): We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Jammu and Srinagar due to the risk of armed clashes, terrorist attack and violent demonstrations. While there has been an overall decline in violence in these areas over recent years, the threat of acts of violence and armed unrest persists. On 24 June 2013, an attack on an army convoy on the airport road on the outskirts of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, killed eight soldiers and injured several others.

Travellers to these locations are strongly advised to arrive and depart by air.

Other Parts of Jammu and Kashmir: We advise you not to travel to other parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, due to frequent armed clashes, terrorist activities and violent demonstrations. There is an ongoing dispute between India and neighbouring Pakistan regarding Jammu and Kashmir. Serious security problems remain in parts of the state, particularly in rural areas and close to the border.

Attacks have targeted tourists and tourist buses. Foreigners have been kidnapped in Kashmir.

Continuing civil unrest, attacks and violent demonstrations in Jammu and Kashmir have resulted in a large number of deaths, with more than 100 people reportedly killed between June and September 2010. The arrest, detention or death of those involved in protests could become catalysts for further violence. Curfews can be imposed in the Kashmir Valley at short notice, resulting in restrictions on movement, disruption to road transport and suspension of flights in and out of the area.

Borders with Pakistan: We advise you not to travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan (northern and western India), other than at the international border crossing at Atari, India and Wagah, Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence at the border. Landmines pose a serious risk along some stretches of the India-Pakistan border.

United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign Travel Advice

Local Travel
Jammu & Kashmir

The FCO advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of (i) travel within the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, (ii) travel by air to the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, (iii) travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, and (iv) travel within the region of Ladakh. Please note that the tourist destinations of Phalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg fall within the areas to which the FCO advise against all travel.

There has been an overall decline in violence in the state in recent years and an increase in the numbers of Indian and western tourists. There have been no recent reported attacks on visitors in the cities of Srinagar or Jammu.

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 kidnapping. The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The level of consular assistance that the British High Commission can provide in Jammu & Kashmir is extremely limited.

In July 2012, there was a grenade attack on a minibus carrying tourists at Bijbehara. Three people were killed, including 2 British nationals, and four were injured.

Other Northern States

The FCO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan other than travel across the international border at Wagah. Rocket attacks launched from Pakistani territory landed near Attari in 2009.

The border between India and Pakistan in Rajasthan is unmarked in some areas. Approaching the border away from an official crossing point could be dangerous, and where unmarked could lead to a visitor straying into Pakistan.

The FCO continues to receive reports of foreigners going missing in high and remote parts of the country. Trekkers should travel in groups and engage local guides. For the more intrepid climbers you will need special permits.

There are no commercial mountain rescue services operating above 3,000 metres. In some border areas only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. However, they are under no obligation to perform air rescues and have limited resources to do so. Make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres.

East and North East India

The FCO advise against all travel to Manipur and against all but essential travel to Imphal, the state capital of Manipur. If you plan to travel to Imphal then do so only by air. There is a risk from insurgent groups, mainly in rural areas. Although foreigners have not been targeted, attacks can be indiscriminate.

There are sudden strikes called by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in Darjeeling and the surrounding hills in North Bengal. If you intend to visit the region contact your local tour operator and hotel before travelling. Any strike action may affect the roads to Sikkim that run through the Darjeeling Hills.

Although the overall security situation in the north-east of India has improved, some areas within the north-eastern states, especially in Manipur and Assam, still experience sudden and random outbreaks of violence. Review your security arrangements carefully, seek advice from the local authorities and avoid large crowds.

There have been several recent incidents of violence in Assam including grenade explosions in Lakhimpur, Karbi Anglong and Guwahati which resulted in the deaths of 2 people. The Indian Home department has put Assam state on high alert. The Guwahati area is generally thought to be a ‘natural target’.

Violent extremist groups are active in the rural areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkand, Odisha, and in remote parts of Bihar and West Bengal. There is a risk of violent crime in the rural areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. There have been skirmishes on the India/Bangladesh border. The Orissa government has imposed severe restrictions on the movement of tourists, especially foreign tourists, inside areas inhabited by tribes people.

Indian government permits are required for travel to Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Make applications for travel well in advance (three months). In India, you should apply at the liaison office of the state for which you require a permit or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Permits for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be issued on arrival in Port Blair but this is not the case for other states.

Western Region

The FCO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, except for travel across the international border at Wagah.

On 1 August 2012, there were a number of small explosions in Pune. One person was injured.

The India/Pakistan border in Gujarat is unmarked in some areas. Approaching it away from an official crossing point could be dangerous and where unmarked could lead to you straying into Pakistan illegally. There continues to be some inter communal tension in Gujarat which can lead to isolated incidents of violence.

In Mumbai, there is a risk of armed robbers holding up taxis along the main highway from the airport to the city in the early hours of the morning. If you are using this route during these times, arrange to travel by coach where possible or seek advice at the airport on arrival.

In Mumbai, the international and domestic airport terminals are a large distance apart and it is not possible to walk from one to the other. If you are transiting between international and domestic flights you can use the free shuttle services if you have an onward connection on your ticket. You will not be able to use the service once you exit the terminal building. Both terminals also have pre-paid taxi facilities. At the international terminal, these can be reached from inside and outside the terminal building. At the domestic terminal, prepaid taxi facilities are accessible only from inside the terminal building. There have been reports of scams at both terminals with unofficial taxi drivers demanding exorbitant sums of money once you are inside the cab. Only use either prepaid taxis or metered taxis.

After you clear customs and immigration at Mumbai airport, be wary of approaches by thieves posing as Government officials.

Southern India

Following the announcement, on 31 July 2013, of the intention to divide Andhra Pradesh into two separate states, there are ongoing, sporadic demonstrations and agitation, both in Hyderabad and the surrounding region. In Hyderabad, the areas surrounding the Secretariat, Khairatabad, Tank Bund, Indira Park, Osmania University and LB Stadium are most affected. Other cities including Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Anantapur are also affected. In some areas outside of Hyderabad, transport and other essential services are subject to ongoing disruption as a result of associated strikes. Avoid demonstrations and check your travel plans in advance to avoid disruption. You should also monitor local media for updates.


If you’re staying in a hotel on the smaller roads in the Candolim-Calangute belt, take particular care when walking to or from the main road. There have been reports of bag-snatchings on these roads since the beginning of 2012. The thieves are usually on motorbikes, with headlights on full-beam to blind their victims.

Throughout Goa there have been reports of drinks being spiked and travellers, including British nationals, subsequently being robbed, sexually assaulted or dying. In 2012, 29 British nationals died in Goa. Some of these deaths were attributed to drug/alcohol abuse. There has been a series of high-profile incidents in Goa of alleged rape against foreign nationals, including Britons. Avoid beaches after dark. There is a risk of being attacked by packs of stray dogs, robbed or sexually assaulted. Female travellers should observe and respect local dress and customs.


There are strong currents off many coasts. Most beaches don’t have warning signs, flags or life-saving equipment. Drownings are common.

United States: Department of State International Travel Information

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. The U.S. government occasionally receives information regarding possible terrorist attacks that could take place in India, monitors such information to determine credibility, and advises U.S. citizens accordingly.  Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive messages from the Embassy automatically.   

Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time. Recent incidents include a series of bomb blasts at an election rally inPatna, Bihar that killed six and injured 85 others; a series of explosions at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya on July 7, 2013 that caused damage to the temple complex; an explosion on April 17, 2013 in Bangalore in which sixteen people were reported to have been injured; twin bombings near a bus stop and commercial area in Hyderabad on February 21, 2013, that killed 17 and injured 119 bystanders; and the February 13, 2012 bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle near the diplomatic enclave in New Delhi that injured four persons.  The Maoists (also known as “Naxalites”) are the most active insurgent group in India. The Naxalites typically attack Indian government officials, but have also derailed trains, targeted other government buildings such as police stations, and kidnapped foreigners. They operate mostly in the more remote areas of the country.

U.S. citizens should always practice good personal security. Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile. Monitor local news reports, vary your routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when you visit public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and recreation venues.

Beyond the threat from terrorism and insurgencies, demonstrations and general strikes, or “bandh,” often cause major inconvenience and unrest. These strikes can result in the stoppage of all transportation and tourist-related services, at times for 24 hours or more. U.S. citizens caught in such a strike may find they are unable to make flight and rail connections, as local transportation can be severely limited. Local media generally give an idea of the length and geographical location of the strike. Large religious gatherings that attract hundreds of thousands of people can result in dangerous and often life-threatening stampedes. Local demonstrations can begin spontaneously and escalate with little warning, disrupting transportation systems and city services and posing risks to travelers. In response to such events, Indian authorities occasionally impose curfews and/or restrict travel. You are urged to obey such curfews and travel restrictions and to avoid demonstrations and rallies as they have the potential for violence, especially immediately preceding and following political rallies, elections, and religious festivals (particularly when Hindu and Muslim festivals coincide). Tensions between castes and religious groups can also result in disruptions and violence. In some cases, demonstrators specifically block roads near popular tourist sites and disrupt train operations in order to gain the attention of Indian authorities; occasionally vehicles transporting tourists are attacked in these incidents. India generally goes on “High Alert” status prior to major holidays or events. You should monitor local television, print media, Mission India’s American Citizens Services Facebook page, and enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for further information about the current situation in areas where you will travel.

The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates General in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai will post information about routine demonstrations on the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates General websites, under the heading “Demonstration Notices.” Please monitor our websites regularly for information about protest activities in the country. Please note that the Embassy and Consulates General will issue emergency/security messages for other purposes, as necessary.

Religious violence occasionally occurs in India, especially when tensions between different religious communities are purposefully exacerbated by groups pushing religiously chauvinistic agendas. Violence against Indian Christians in a remote part of Odisha in 2008 resulted in the displacement of thousands of villagers and the deaths of 40 people. There are active "anti-conversion" laws in some Indian states, and acts of conversion sometimes elicit violent reactions from Hindu extremists. Foreigners suspected of proselytizing Hindus have been attacked and killed in conservative, rural areas in India in the past.  On August 27, 2013, clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities of the Muzaffarnagar district, Uttar Pradesh, claimed 43 lives and injured 93. 

Swimming in India

You should exercise caution if you intend to swim in open waters along the Indian coastline, particularly during the monsoon season. Every year, several people in Goa, Mumbai, Puri (Odisha), off the Eastern Coast in the Bay of Bengal, and other areas drown due to strong undertows. It is important to heed warnings posted at beaches and to avoid swimming in the ocean during the monsoon season. Trained lifeguards are very rare along beaches.

If you visit the Andaman Islands, be aware that there have been 24 reports of salt-water crocodile attacks in the past 25 years in the islands. Four have resulted in fatalities, including a U.S. citizen tourist in April 2010. Ask local residents about dangerous sea life before swimming and keep a safe distance from animals at all times.

Wildlife safaris

India offers opportunities for observation of wildlife in its natural habitat and many tour operators and lodges advertise structured, safe excursions into parks and other wildlife viewing areas for close observation of flora and fauna. However, safety standards and training vary, and it is a good idea to ascertain whether operators are trained and licensed. Even animals marketed as “tame” should be respected as wild and extremely dangerous. Keep a safe distance from animals at all times, remaining in vehicles or other protected enclosures when venturing into game parks.

Trekking in India

Trekking expeditions should be limited to routes identified for this purpose by local authorities. Use only registered trekking agencies, porters, and guides, suspend trekking after dark, camp at designated camping places, and travel in groups rather than individually or with one or two companions. Altitudes in popular trekking spots can be as high as 25,170 feet (7,672 m); please make sure that you have had a recent medical checkup to ensure that you are fit to trek at these altitudes and carry sufficient medical insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage.

Train Travel

India has the third largest rail network in the world, and train travel in India generally is safe.  Nevertheless, accidents are sometimes caused by aging infrastructure, poorly maintained equipment, overcrowding and operator errors.  Train accidents have resulted in the death and serious injury of passengers.

Areas of Instability

Jammu & Kashmir: The Department of State strongly recommends that you avoid travel to the state of Jammu & Kashmir (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) because of the potential for terrorist incidents, as well as violent public unrest. U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to Jammu & Kashmir (except for Ladakh) without permission, which is only granted by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in exceptional circumstances. A number of terrorist groups operate in the state, targeting security forces in the region, particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating Indian and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and those stationed in primary tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. Since 1989, as many as  70,000 people (terrorists, security forces, and civilians) have been killed in the Kashmir conflict. Foreigners are particularly visible, vulnerable, and at risk. In the past, serious communal violence left the state mostly paralyzed due to massive strikes and business shut downs, and U.S. citizens have had to be evacuated by local police. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC (see the section on Restricted Areas, below).

India-Pakistan Border: The Department of State recommends that you avoid travel to areas within ten kilometers of the border between India and Pakistan. Both 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 border crossing is usually open, but you are advised to 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 you should apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India. The Pakistani government requires that U.S. citizen residents of India must first come to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi to sign an affidavit of intent to apply for the Pakistani visa before submitting their application.

Both India and Pakistan claim an area of the Karakoram mountain range that includes the Siachen glacier. Travel or mountain climbing in this area is highly dangerous. The disputed area includes the following peaks: Rimo Peak; Apsarasas I, II, and III; Tegam Kangri I, II and III; Suingri Kangri; Ghiant I and II; Indira Col; and Sia Kangri. Check with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi for information on current conditions. (Please see the section on Smart Traveler Enrollment Program/Embassy Location above.)

Northeastern states: Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur with some frequency in the northeast. While U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted, it is possible that you could be affected as a bystander. If you travel to the northeast, you should avoid travel by train at night, travel outside major cities at night, and crowds. Security laws are in force in the region, in recognition that these areas have a higher level of instability, and the central government has deployed security personnel. U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without permission from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata. Restricted Area Permits are required for foreigners to visit certain Northeastern states (see the section on Restricted Areas, below.) Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata for information on current conditions. (Please see the section on Smart Traveler Enrollment Program/Embassy Location, above.)

East Central and Southern India: Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in East Central India primarily in rural areas. The Naxalites have a long history of conflict with state and national authorities, including frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials, and are responsible for more attacks in the country than any other organization through an ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation. In May 2013, the Naxalites ambushed a convoy of political leaders in the Bastar region and killed 28 people, including the President of the state Congress Party and the founder of a government paramilitary group. In March 2012 Naxalite guerrillas abducted four persons including two Italian nationals from a remote area of southern Odisha. In February 2012, four officers of the Border Security Force (BSF) were killed in an ambush by Communist Party of India-Maoist rebels in the Malkangiri district of Odisha. Naxalites have not specifically targeted U.S. citizens but have attacked symbolic targets that have included Western companies and rail lines. While Naxalite violence does not normally occur in places frequented by foreigners, there is a risk that visitors could become victims of violence.

Naxalites are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Andhra Pradesh through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive prior authorization from the Regional Security Officer responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization from the Regional Security Officer.

Civil unrest continues in the south-central Indian state of Andhra Pradesh because of an ongoing movement to divide the state in order to create a new state called Telangana. Until the issue is resolved definitively, tension may continue throughout Andhra Pradesh. At times of heightened activity, you should monitor local media and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and large crowds of any kind. The campus of Osmania University in Hyderabad has been the site of recurring civil disturbances regarding the Telangana statehood issue as well as throughout the coastal and southern districts of Andhra Pradesh. State bifurcation-related strikes and protests have occurred throughout the state, lasted for lengthy periods, sporadically shut down transportation, and disrupted municipal services.  Within Hyderabad, organized demonstrations are often held at Indira Park, located on Lower Tank Bund Road, and adjacent areas surrounding Hussain Sagar Lake. Other locations where protests have occurred include the State Legislative Assembly, Gun Park, and Nizam College in Bashir Bagh. Use caution when visiting or driving through these sites, and avoid them altogether during periods of unrest or demonstrations. If you are residing or traveling in Andhra Pradesh you should monitor the situation via media sources, including TV, radio and via the internet, enroll in STEPto receive updated security information from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General and check the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General webpages regularly for demonstration notices.

Restricted/Protected areas

Certain parts of India are designated as "restricted areas" by the Indian government and require special advance permission to visit. These areas include:

  • The state of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Portions of the state of Sikkim
  • Portions of the state of Himachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
  • Portions of the state of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) near the Chinese border
  • Portions of the state of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border
  • Portions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir near the Line of Control with Pakistan and certain portions of Ladakh
  • The Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  • The Union Territory of the Laccadives Islands (Lakshadweep)
  • Portions of the state of Manipur
  • Portions  of the state of Mizoram
  • Potions of the state of Nagaland

More information about travel to/in restricted/protected areas can be found at India’s Bureau of Immigration.

 “Restricted Area Permits" are available outside India at Indian embassies and consulates abroad, or in India from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) at Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New Delhi. The states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim maintain official guesthouses in New Delhi, which can also issue Restricted Area Permits for their respective states for certain travelers. While visiting Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu, be aware the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Center, Kalpakkam, is located just south of the site and is not clearly marked as a restricted and dangerous area.

For the latest security information, travelers should enroll in STEP to receive updated security information and regularly monitor travel information available from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi as well as the U.S. Consulates General in Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras),Hyderabad, and Kolkata (Calcutta).

Stay up to date by:

  • Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
  • Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website. 
  • Calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
  • Taking some time before travel to consider your personal security. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.