India and Pakistan have both canceled flights after two Indian jets were shot down after they crossed into Pakistan airspace. The incident comes days after an Indian air strike on a militant camp which Delhi claimed had killed 300 people. Seven cities in India, including Delhi and Mumbai, have now been put on “highest alert” for possible terror attacks. This is the latest travel advice for those traveling to or intending to travel to, India and Pakistan.
How safe is it to travel to India and Pakistan?
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have not yet updated their travel advice to India and Pakistan but both countries come with ongoing travel restriction warnings.
Terrorists are “very likely” to carry out attacks in both India and Pakistan.
For India, the FCO advise against all travel to “the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah.”
They also advise against all travel to “Jammu and Kashmir, with the exception of (i) travel within the city of Jammu, (ii) travel by air to the city of Jammu, and (iii) travel within the region of Ladakh, Manipur, except the state capital Imphal, where the FCO advise against all but essential travel.”
As for India, the FCO said: “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. Visitors to India should avoid protests and large gatherings.”
They added: “Over 940,000 British nationals visited India in 2017. Most visits are trouble-free.”
In Pakistan, The FCO advise against all travel to: “The Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the districts of Charsadda, Kohat, Tank, Bannu, Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner and Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the city of Peshawar and districts south of the city, including travel on the Peshawar to Chitral road via the Lowari Pass, northern and western Balochistan, and travel on the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit,” states the website.
The FCO warns foreigners, particularly westerners, may be directly targeted by terrorists in Pakistan.
“There’s a high threat of terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout the country, including the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi,” said the FCO.
“You should be vigilant, avoid all crowds, public events, political gatherings, religious processions and sporting events, and take appropriate security precautions.
“Densely populated unsecured areas, such as markets, shopping malls, restaurants and places where westerners and the Pakistani elite are known to congregate, are potential focal points for attacks.”
However, the FCO added: “Around 270,000 British nationals visit Pakistan every year. Most visits are trouble-free.”
Are flights cancelled in India and Pakistan?
Pakistani airspace has officially been closed for commercial flights, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced today.
Pakistan had previously cancelled “domestic and international flight operations to/from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad Airports,” India based journalist Aditya Raj Kaul tweeted.
The Indian air force has also ordered the closure of Kashmir’s main airport in Srinagar.
At least three others in neighbouring states are to be closed because of the two incidents, an official has said.
Indian airline Vistara today confirmed flights to and from four cities in northern India had been put on hold.
Vistara tweeted: “Due to airspace restrictions, flights to and from Amritsar, Srinagar, and Jammu are currently on hold. Chandigarh is now open again for flights.
“Customers are requested to check flight status before commencing their journey to the airport.”
India’s low-cost carrier IndiGo also has stopped flights. The airline tweeted: “Due to airspace closure, flights to and from Srinagar, Jammu, Chandigarh, Amritsar and Dehradun have been temporarily suspended.”
The closures are certain to cause massive disruption to international travel.