The United Kingdom (UK) and Germany on Saturday issuing an advisory to their citizens against travel to Kashmir has upset the valley-centric politicians and those engaged in the tourism trade.
The advisory, that has come following the state government asking pilgrims and tourists to leave Kashmir pointed out that terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners. There have been recent media reports suggesting Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) may have an interest in attacking targets in India.
There may be an increased threat to places visited by British nationals such as religious sites, markets, festival venues and beaches. You should be vigilant at this time, monitor local media and take all precautions for your safety.
“On 2 August, Indian media reported that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir had advised tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to curtail their stay in the Kashmir Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return home as soon as possible because of security threats. The British High Commission in New Delhi is monitoring the situation. If you’re in Jammu and Kashmir, you should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and keep up to date with developments, including via this travel advice”.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all travel to Kashmir but has said that the British tourists can travel within the city of Jammu and the Ladakh region.
“The tourist destinations of Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg fall within the areas to which the FCO advise against all travel”. Travel by road between Jammu and Srinagar has also not been advised.
Reacting to the UK’s advisory, former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted; “It takes years of effort to have these travel advisories diluted & the last few days have been a major setback for the tourism industry in the state”.
It takes years of effort to have these travel advisories diluted & the last few days have been a major setback for the tourism industry in the state. https://t.co/XTKsHVCxVg
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) August 3, 2019
Responding to the state government asking the Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to return from the valley, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industry on Saturday expressed concern over the action.
The order has broken the back of the tourism sector and has caused “irreversible damage” to the economy of the state, the Chamber said.