Safety and security
We advise against all travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir other than Ladakh and all but essential travel to Srinagar. There's a high level of conflict and terrorist violence in the region and a high risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping.
We also advise against all but essential travel to Imphal and against all travel in the rest of Manipur and Tripura. Lawlessness and violence are serious risks in the north-eastern part of the country, including in Assam, where risks are further increased by the ongoing campaign of violence by ULFA militants.
A number of regions of central and southern India, including parts of Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal, are vulnerable to violence from the extreme left-wing Naxalite militants who are active in some rural areas. Visitors should be vigilant at all times against the threat of criminality and terrorism.
There is a high risk that terrorists will try to carry out an attack in India. Prominent government buildings, public transport, places of worship and commercial and public areas are all potential targets for terrorist attack.
We advise you to be extremely careful and be aware of your surroundings. Stay vigilant, particularly in busy public places such as shopping malls, markets and on public transport. Avoid any demonstrations that may occur and monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.
A number of terrorist attacks have taken place in recent years, including in major tourist destinations such as Mumbai and New Delhi, which has led to increased security in many major cities. Tourist areas such as Old Delhi and other crowded areas frequented by foreigners could be seen as targets.
Security forces in India consider the threat of terrorist incidents is heightened around major national festivals such as Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and other major festival occasions.
Crime remains relatively low in India but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Be cautious when using a travel agent in India, use one that is recommended by your guidebook or a reliable hotel. Irish citizens have been the victims of travel agent scams in India.
If you're a victim of a crime while in India, report it to a local police station immediately. You will need to file an FIR (first incident report) and the police must register the crime. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in New Delhi if you need help.
Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night. If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Avoid hailing taxis or auto-rickshaws on the street. Meru Cabs and Mega Cabs are widely available in cities in India. They can be booked online or over the phone. Platforms for ordering taxis at set prices, such as Uber and OLA are now available in many cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Women should use caution when travelling in India. Recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are at risk. Tourists have been the victims of sexual assault in Agra, Goa, Delhi, Bangalore, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata and Rajasthan. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. This may include being photographed.
Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India. The cultural norms in India are very different to Ireland. In India, it is unusual for women to travel independently. In the evening or at night time women should be particularly cautious. While using the metro, women travellers should use the women's only carriage. This is clearly marked on the platform of each station. Women should consider travelling in a group in India.
You should respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, when alone at any time of day. Women travellers should be particularly careful when selecting their accommodation and consider sharing a room where possible. Women should be cautious about sharing information such as their room number or address with people whom they do not know very well.
If you're planning to drive in India, you should be extremely careful. Driving on Indian roads can be hazardous, particularly at night in rural areas. Inadequately lit buses and lorries, poor driving and badly maintained vehicles are the main causes of accidents. If your vehicle is involved in a collision with a pedestrian or livestock, you are best advised to go to the nearest police station to report the accident. Staying at the scene of an accident is unsafe, as you and the vehicle occupants may be attacked.
If you want to drive, bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
Hiring a vehicle
If you're hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you're allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
In India, it is more common to hire a car and driver than to drive yourself.
If you are trekking in high altitudes, make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres. You should also be aware that there are no commercial mountain rescue services capable of operating at altitudes above 3,000 metres.
There are also parts of the border areas where only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. They are under no obligation to perform air rescues and have limited resources available to do so.
Wed, 11 Jul 2018 13:34:02 BST