The Swiss foreign affairs ministry has updated its travel advice for Swiss citizens regarding Indian-administered Kashmir in the wake of the Indian government’s recent decision to scrap its autonomy.
While Swiss visitors have always been advised against visiting the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the travel advisory has recently been updated to reflect current tensions on the ground. The recent removal of special autonomy accorded to the state in 1949 - after it acceded to India in 1947 - has led to protests and a government clampdown on free movement and communication facilities.
“The Indian government has restricted freedom of assembly and movement, limited Internet and telephone connections and strengthened the presence of security forces,” said the updated Swiss government travel advisoryexternal link.
Swiss citizens are recommended to avoid the northern Indian state, especially the Kashmir Valley. However, those wishing to travel to the Ladakh region of the state may do so, provided they fly directly to Leh airport or take the Manali-to-Leh road route. The route from Kashmir to Leh is therefore out of the question for safety reasons.
Jammu and Kashmir received just under 80,000 foreign tourists in 2017, or 0.3% share of the country’s total. Close to 50,000 Swiss citizens visited India in 2017.