Indian Sub Continent 15th January 2019

Travellers, be they on business or for pleasure, will find the sub continent a fascinating although an often tiring place to visit. We believe crime levels are significantly lower compared to Latin America although the risk from road traffic accidents is greater, driving in India has to be seen to be believed at times. Myanmar (Burma) has really opened up to both business and tourism although many areas outside the central belt are still off limits due to regional conflicts. Aung San Suu Kyri NLD party won the November 2015 election and the country first democratically elected government was sworn in at the end of March 2016. The Rakhine province has seen significant unrest and at the beginning of September 2017 over 100,000 Rohingya muslims  are reported to have fled to Bangladesh in response to attacks by the Burmese army. As of January 2018 the situation has stabilised and some are returning from Banglades. The standard of food hygiene is poor. However its a highly rewarding country to visit and our favourite in SE Asia.

Terrorism remains an ongoing problem in some areas of India, the threat stems from Islamist terrorism Pakistan and an increase of Maoists attacks against the police and army. However travellers are not the target and therefore the risk is incidental - wrong place, wrong time. Most of the country is safe but all travellers are urged to spend time researching the situation. Maoist activity in the past have been restricted to the NW but is spreading. Red 24 advise against all non-essential travel to the rural and remote areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa states in eastern India. Jammu & Kashmir had opened up to tourism in 2013 but since mid 2015 has been beset by increase strikes and general unrest and attacks by the security forces on Kashmir separatists has resulted in a worsening security situation. The FCO is now advising against all travel to most of Jammu and Kashmir and in September 2016 the security situation worsened with deaths following clashes with the security forces. Whilst concerns over security are of a concern in some parts, its worth remembering that approx 275 people die in India every day from road traffic accidents - that is the greatest threat to travellers. Smog is causing health problems in Delhi and other major cities.  A car restriction plan is starting in Delhi in Jan 2016 and cold weather in October 2018 has resulted in increased pollution levels returning to Delhi causing many health issues. In erly January 2019 Smog levels in Delhi reached a new high & smog is likely to last for most of the winter but will vary depending on weather conditions. Mumbai can be worse that Delhi and pollution is a growing problem in most of India's largest cities. As with last year, the circulation of cash is becoming an issue again, the central bank may intervene again. Fog is predicted to disrupt train services throughtout much of northern india during Jan & early Feb 2019. The Kumbh Mela festival began on 14 January and will contnue for another 6 weeks.

Both India & Sri Lanka are experiencing a significant rise in cases of Dengue Fever, caused by day biting mosquitos. Cases in late 2017/early 2018 are up by a factor of 10 compared to previous years.In November 2018 health officials reported an significant increase in Dengue Fever around the New Delhi area.

Pakistan continues to be politically unstable and is beset with security issues. Elections were held on 25 July 2018, some violence occurred inthe run up and the Imran Khan's PTI party is trying to form a government. 

In Bangladesh there continues to be a threat from terrorism as well as constant political upheaval. Street protests are common and travellers should check the latest security situation before travelling. Due to its geographical location much of the country suffers from flooding, especailly during the monsoon season. Independence day is the 26 March.  

Nepal experienced a very powerful earthquake on 26 April 2015 which killed over 5,000 and has caused extensive damage in the Kathamndu & Pohkara areas, the country will take years to fully recover. The monsoon rains of August 2017 also caused extensive flooding.

Political tensions between India and China are slightly elevated due to a border on shared northern boundary. 

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