Dutch gov't advises against visiting Kashmir in India

Indian soldiers patrolling the streets of Srinagar in Kashmir, June 2017
Indian soldiers patrolling the streets of Srinagar in Kashmir, June 2017Photo: mazzzur/DepositPhotos

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusted its travel advice for India due to increasing tensions in the country. The government advises Dutch not to travel to Kashmir, and to only visit the cities of Srinagar and Jammu if absolutely necessary.

"In this state, the security situation is poor and unpredictable", the Ministry said, according to ANP. The embassy can only offer limited assistance and support in the area. "This is because, for example, armed groups are active who carry out attacks on government buildings and security authorities." Civilians sometimes fall casualty to these attacks, or to actions by the army and the police, according to the ministry. "A curfew is regularly set in the valley, and telephone and internet connections are regularly blocked."

Tensions increased in Kashmir after India withdrew the region's special status. Kashmir residents have not had access to mobile networks and internet since Sunday, according to the news wire. India also banned public gatherings in Srinagar, and paramilitary police are present in large numbers in the city. There are also reports of schools being closed and neighborhoods being blocked off. 

India's withdrawal of Kashmir's special status is controversial, because the region is shared with Pakistan. A small part of the region is also Chinese. Pakistan strongly condemned India's decision. Pakistan said it would fight for the rights of the Kashmir people, but that it is not looking for a military solution to the conflict with India. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advises against visiting a large part of the border between India and Pakistan and the border with China in the far north, calling these risk areas. This warning has been in place for some time.