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Security Briefing

United States: Department of State International Travel Information

Latest advice,

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

Do not travel to:

  • The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

Country Summary: Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

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

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to India.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined India has a moderate level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to India:

  • Do not travel alone, particularly if you are a woman. Visit our website for Women Travelers.
  • Review your personal security plans and remain alert to your surroundings.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for India.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). 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.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

India-Pakistan Border – Level 4: Do Not Travel

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 Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. 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.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Northeastern States – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast.

U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Central and East India – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the U.S. consulate responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas. 

Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not issue travel warnings for specific countries, but issues travel advice for every country. The information below is excerpted from its summary assessments of India

Current as of: 12 December 2022
Last Reviewed: 23 November 2022
Latest Advice: Exercise a high degree of caution in India overall due to the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime.
Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are possible in India anywhere and at any time.

The Australian Government continues to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India.

The Indian Government regularly issues public alert warnings about possible terrorist attacks.

Terrorist attacks could target foreigners. Violence directed at others may affect you.

Terrorists have targeted popular tourist areas, including:

  • hotels, markets and cinemas
  • tourist and religious sites
  • transport hubs and public transport networks
  • sporting events
  • local courts and Indian security and political establishments

Targets could also include major tourist attractions and shopping centres.

Attacks could happen during significant times such as:

  • Republic Day, 26 January
  • Independence Day, 15 August
  • other major holidays
  • periods of religious significance

Many terrorist attacks in India have involved multiple explosions, one after the other. These attacks have caused a high number of deaths.

Militants have crossed the border into India to conduct attacks in the past. It's likely this will continue.

Attacks on military and police in Jammu and Kashmir often lead to violent clashes.

Outside of major cities, security on public transport is limited, including on buses and railways.

Security at airports has improved due to the threat of terrorist attacks against Indian aviation interests.

To protect yourself from terrorist attacks:

  • check the media for threats
  • take official warnings seriously
  • consider the level of security at your destination
  • avoid areas that are possible terrorist targets
  • have a clear exit plan for crowded places and possible targets
  • report suspicious activity or items to police

If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.

  • Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

More information: 
  • Terrorism

Jammu and Kashmir

On 5 August 2019, the Government of India announced constitutional changes that affect the internal political status of Jammu and Kashmir.

A heightened Indian security presence is now in place, with additional restrictive measures applying to public gatherings and internet and telecommunications services. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir there is a high risk of:

  • armed clashes
  • terrorist attacks
  • violent demonstrations

There is a higher risk in rural areas and areas close to the border with Pakistan.

Terrorists have kidnapped foreigners in Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists have also targeted tourist buses.

People have been killed and seriously injured in widespread violent protests. More police have been sent to the region.

Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Maoist insurgents, known as Naxalites, have attacked rural and forested areas of the state of Chhattisgarh.

There is a risk of Naxalite violence in border regions of:

  • Odisha
  • Jharkhand
  • Maharashtra
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Telangana

Borders with Pakistan

Parts of the India-Pakistan border have a high risk of:

  • landmines
  • cross-border attacks
  • violence

Always be alert to possible threats near the Atari-Wagah border crossing.

North-eastern states of Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland and Manipur

The north-eastern states of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam, except Guwahati city, have a high risk of:

  • armed robbery
  • kidnapping
  • extortion
  • separatist and insurgent violence

This includes rural areas.

Insurgent groups in these states have:

  • attacked civilians
  • bombed buildings

Civil unrest and political tension

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.

Violent protests and demonstrations occur from time to time. They can happen with little or no warning.

Many people have died as a result of civil unrest and communal violence in India.

Triggers for demonstrations include:

  • international events
  • political developments in the region
  • local events

Demonstrations may affect public transport.

Large crowds at religious ceremonies and gatherings can be dangerous. They have led to life-threatening situations such as stampedes.

Indian authorities may:

  • set curfews
  • limit mobile network availability
  • restrict activity

To protect yourself from civil unrest and violence:

  • avoid demonstrations, political events, rallies, processions and large public gatherings
  • check the news and other sources for information
  • avoid areas affected by civil unrest
  • take official warnings seriously
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • plan your activities to avoid days of national and commemorative significance

Be prepared to change your travel plans if there's an incident.

If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help.

More information:

  • Demonstrations and civil unrest

Crime

Sexual assault

Women in India may experience:

  • unwanted attention
  • harassment
  • assault
  • sexual assault

It is rare for people who commit these crimes to be successfully prosecuted by the law.

There are consistent, ongoing allegations and reports of sexual misconduct. These reports have involved religious groups and their leaders. If you're visiting India for religious reasons, find out about your hosts before travelling.

Avoid travelling alone if you're female, even in major cities and tourist sites.

More information:

  • Advice for women
  • Sexual assault overseas

Drink and food spiking

Many travellers have been robbed and assaulted after consuming spiked drinks or food.

Home-made or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous.

Drink spiking incidents have occurred:

  • on public transport
  • in hotels, restaurants and bars

Drink and food spiking is rare at:

  • business-class hotels
  • upscale bars and restaurants

The risk of drink and food spiking is higher in smaller establishments.

To protect yourself from food and drink spiking:

  • don't accept food or drinks from strangers
  • don't leave drinks unattended
  • if you're not certain your drink is safe, don't drink it

Petty crime

Petty theft is common in crowded areas such as:

  • markets
  • trade fairs
  • expos
  • airports and train stations
  • public transport, including overnight and long-distance trains

Thieves on motorcycles snatch bags and jewellery.

To protect yourself from petty crime:

  • pay close attention to your personal belongings, especially in crowded areas
  • carry only what you need, including your passport
  • leave valuables in a secure location
  • avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras
  • avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch

If you're walking, stay on footpaths, if possible, and:

  • away from the curb
  • with your bag held away from traffic

Avoid travelling alone, especially at night:

  • on public transport
  • in cars, taxis and rickshaws

Avoid less populous and unlit areas. This includes city streets, village lanes and beaches.

Scams

Scams in India can involve:

  • ATM and credit cards
  • train tickets
  • taxis
  • temple donations
  • tour guides

Tour guide scams

Tour guides attempt to sell fraudulent tour packages. Some guides may try to 'prove' that your existing tour package is invalid so they can sell you their own package.

Strangers posing as 'guides' may attempt to take travellers to tourist areas. The fake guide transports the victim to an isolated area, where they then attempt to rob and assault them. 

Check that any person holding a placard with your name knows where you are going.

Card skimming scams

Card skimming devices copy details from the magnetic strip on your ATM and credit cards. These details are transferred onto a blank card for the criminal to use. There is a high risk of card skimming at ATMs.

To avoid credit and debit card scams:

  • keep your credit card in sight at all times
  • don't show your PIN to others, especially when using ATMs
  • check your transaction statements

Government services scams

Touts or agents near government offices tell foreigners they can provide faster services for a fee. They may be present around places such as the Foreigner Regional Registration Office.

Reporting scams

If you're the victim of a scam report it immediately to the nearest police station. You may not be able to get your money or goods back. However, police can give you an official report so you can make a claim with your insurer. See Local contacts

Tours and adventure activities

Touts may use aggressive tactics to persuade you to buy tickets for tours. You'll often see them at:

  • airports
  • railway stations
  • bus stations

They may not have any connection to tour services. You may be overcharged.

Businesses don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes:

  • transport
  • tour operators
  • adventure activities

If you plan to do an adventure activity:

  • check if your travel insurance policy covers it
  • check the credentials of the operator
  • ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
  • always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts

If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Wildlife safety

Tigers attack and kill people in India.

Monkeys may attempt to steal items from people at temples and busy tourist attractions.

If you plan to observe or photograph wildlife:

  • always respect wildlife laws and park regulations
  • only use reputable and professional guides
  • keep a safe distance
Climate and natural disasters

Severe weather

India experiences natural disasters and severe weather, including:

  • heatwaves and drought
  • floods and landslides
  • cyclones and storms
  • dust storms
  • earthquakes and tsunamis

If there's a natural disaster:

  • always carry your passport in a waterproof bag
  • keep in touch with family and friends
  • check the media, India Meteorological Department website and other local sources for information
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Heatwaves and drought

The climate in India is varied.

Heatwaves can cause droughts and water shortages in summer. 

Floods and landslides

Monsoon rains occur from June to October.

Monsoon rains can cause extensive flooding and landslides.

High risk areas include:

  • Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the north and east
  • Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south

Floods have affected millions of people and caused many deaths.

If you're travelling during monsoon season, ask your tour operator if services have been affected.

Cyclones and storms

Cyclones are common in Indian waters from April to December. They are particularly common around the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.

Coastal and some inland areas are vulnerable to storm surges, particularly:

  • Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
  • Kerala
  • Lakshadweep
  • the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Cyclones and storms can disrupt key services, including:

  • emergency and medical care
  • telecommunications
  • transport
  • food and water supplies

If there's a cyclone or storm:

  • you may get stuck in the area
  • flights could be delayed or suspended
  • available flights may fill quickly
  • adequate shelter may not be available

If you're arriving during the wet season, contact your tour operator to check if services are affected.

Dust storms

Dust storms occur during summer and have caused deaths.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Earth tremors are common in India, particularly in the north-eastern states.

Earth tremors can cause landslides in hilly and mountainous areas.

If there is an earthquake, expect severe disruptions to services.

To stay safe during an earthquake:

  • know the emergency plans at your accommodation
  • follow the instructions and advice of local authorities
  • follow evacuation orders

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis. However, the Indian and Pacific Oceans experience large, destructive tsunamis more often. Be alert to warnings. A tsunami could quickly follow a tremor or earthquake.

Move to high ground straight away if:

  • local authorities advise you to
  • you feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • you feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • you see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • you hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Don't wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media and weather services.

More information:

  • Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign Travel Advice

! Warning FCDO advises against all travel to parts of India.