Indian Sub Continent 17th November 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.

India

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. But above all else, it's 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. Pollution tends to be worse in the winter months and reached new levels in early Nov 2019 prompting many schools to shut in Delhi and other major cities. 

A car restriction plan started in Delhi in Jan 2016 and pollutions levels tend to be worse in the colder winter months. Pollution is a problem throughtout India,  of the top 10 most polluted cities in the World, the majority are in India so the problem is not confined to Delhi. Mumbai can be worse than Delhi. The Prime Minister Modi's BJP party was relected by a landslide majority in April/May 2019 elections. Relations with Pakistan have deteriorated following a suicide attack in Kashmir in mid February 2019, which killed 40 security personnel. India blames Pakistan for harbouring militants. The situation escalated on 26 & 27 February 2019 when Pakistan shot down an Indian airforce jet in response to airstrikes on camps within Pakistan. In August 2019 India revoked the specail status that Kashmir has held since 1947. This action has caused outrage in Kashmir and relations with Pakistan have further detoriated. It is assessed that the likleyhood of a militant attack on Indian forces is very high and overall threat of a terrorist attack in India is high.  The arrival of the 2019 monsoon is causing extensive flooding throughout India including Kerela, Assam & Mumbai. Reports that over 240 people have been killed. Flooding in late September caused further deaths in UP and Bihar states. Despite all the secuirty and environmental issues India is perhaps the most intersting country in whole of SE Asia to visit and it has a vigrant economy. 

Pakistan

The country continues to be politically unstable and is beset with security issues. Elections were held on 25 July 2018, some violence occurred in the run up and the Imran Khan's PTI party has now formed a government. Most of the cities are safe to visit but care must be taken due to extremist elementist within the population, the latter who are generally very welcoming and frustrated by political and religious divides. Relations with India are very strained at the moment.

Sri Lanka

On Easter Monday 2019, a series of bombs exploded around the Sri Lanka capital Colombo killing over 290 people. A newly formed Islamist group called Sri Lankan Towheed Jammaat. There remains a risk of further attacks so travellers must stay vigilant. Should visitors decide to stay they are advised to check that their travel insurance will still be valid. Since the beginning of 2019 there has been a spike in the cases of Dengue Fever, especially around Colombo, Galle & Gampaha. Dengue is caused by day biting mosquitos. On 17 November the ex defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected president, the choice may raised ethnic tensions. 

Both India & Sri Lanka are experiencing a significant rise in cases of Dengue Fever, caused by day-biting mosquitos. In November 2018 health officials reported an significant increase in Dengue Fever around the New Delhi area.

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.  The standards of food hygiene is generally poor. However, it's a highly rewarding country to visit and our favourite in SE Asia. In the last 8 years the country has geared up to tourism with many new hotels opening up. ATMs are now available and credit and debit cards are acceped in many hotels but its suggested to still bring some US$ in cash, 50 and 100 bills in prestine condition will get a better rate of exchange. Burma is in a active earthquake zone and is prone to tropical storms.

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, the July 19 monsoon has killed over 150 by the end of July. 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. Heavy monsoon rains have caused some deaths and flooding in July 2019.

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

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