US Tells Citizens to 'Exercise Increased Caution' While Visiting India

Placing India on Level 2, the State Department identified "crime and terrorism" for Americans to exercise increased caution.

The advisory said, "Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India".

Cuba, for instance, where the State Department has previously advised against travel, was listed as a Tier 3, rather than Tier 4, country.

The advisory also warns U.S. citizens not to travel within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

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Additionally, reasons for travel advisories will be attached to letters, such as C for crime, T for terrorism, H for heath issues, U for civil unrest and O for other.

The US State Department on Wednesday issued four new levels of threat assessments for its citizens - from normal precautions to no travel - but kept Pakistan in the third category of "reconsider travel".

In place of the previous system of alerts and advisories, the new ratings establish advisory levels (reminiscent of the now-defunct Homeland Security Advisory System) which correspond to escalating levels of insecurity.

According to Bernier-Toth, the improvement was the first major step in many years and added that the information on the safety state of each nation were by "various parties". "Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities", it said.

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The US asks its citizens to "reconsider travel" to Level 3 countries such as Pakistan, while for Level 4, which lists countries such as Afghanistan, the US recommends "Do Not Travel".

It also advised its countrymen to not travel to Balochistan province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas among others.

The standard jargon at the State Department's website (travel.state.gov) used to be a "warning" - something serious that would suggest extra caution (and sometimes more) - or an "alert", which often was a red flag, sometimes temporary, telling travelers about, say, an election or the aftermath of a natural disaster.

None of levels prohibits travel.

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"Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan". The new classifications are created to simplify travel advisory information so people can easily decide if a particular destination is safe enough to visit.

  • Jermaine Castillo