India is upset over the wording of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel advisory for people travelling to India.
The reasons cited include, “high threat of terrorist activity, safety of women and likelihood of women being harassed or assaulted while visiting India for religious purposes,” says a SBS Punjabi report.
However, the DFAT advisory summary lays special emphasis on women’s security and terrorist activities. High Commissioner of India to Australia H.E. Mr. Navdeep Suri has expressed concern about the language used in the travel advisory pertaining to India, and said that the matter has been taken up with the Australian government.
Following are the excerpts from the advisory:
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in India because of the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime, and the high rate of vehicle accidents. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India, including in regions frequented by Westerners. We assess that attacks could occur anywhere at any time with little or no warning, including in locations frequented by Australians.
- Safety of women is a concern in India. Women should take particular care in all parts of India and exercise caution, even if they are travelling in a group.
- Violent protests and demonstrations occur sporadically throughout India Cities of Jammu and Srinagar,reconsider your need to travel.
- India overall,exercise a high degree of caution and
- North-eastern states (Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur) and Chhattisgarh and the border areas of neighbouring states,reconsider your need to travel
The SBS asked the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra about this, when he spoke to SBS Punjabi program last week. He termed the language used in the travel advisory for India as “unfortunate”. He accepted that some incidents of violence against women had taken place in India, but it was “an unfair generalisation” to taint the whole country as unsafe. Mr Suri had mentioned that he had taken up the matter with DFAT.
When contacted by SBS Punjabi, DFAT responded with “no comment” on this matter.
“The Australian Government provides its travel advisories to allow Australian travellers to make their own safe travel decisions,” adds DFAT.
“The advice represents the Australian Governments best assessment of the safety and security environment in India. It is not influenced by political or commercial considerations.”
“Australians are advised to exercise a high degree of caution (level 2 of 4) in India because of the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime, and the high rate of vehicle accidents. The level of advice is the same as for Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.”