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Is India Safe to Visit

 

India is the seventh largest country, spanning most of the Indian subcontinent, and the second most populous in the world. As such it is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse. Although it should be noted that the vast majority of travelers experience no trouble at all. However, travelers should still take certain precautions when visiting India.

India is a relatively safe country, though there are some hazards each newcomer should be aware of. Generally, the level of crimes are moderate and India is relatively safe for tourists. The most common types of crime are theft, armed robbery and rape.

Quick Facts

  • Mass photo-taking sessions with foreigners are common in India.
  • Returning a man's gaze could be misinterpreted as flirting.
  • Dirty ice, as well as fruit and vegetables washed with dirty water are common causes of traveler’s diarrhea in India.
  • Don't be offended or surprised when people lean on you in the subway or stand too close when they speak to you.
  • Scams are one of the biggest irritations in India.

General Precautions

India is a special, unique destination. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been before, nothing will prepare you for the experiences that waits in this fascinating country.

Unfortunately, due to a growing reputation for crimes, India’s safeness has been questioned a few times by travelers wanting to visit this country. Here are some precautions that you might want to follow.

Protect your valuables and important documents at all times

Although armed or violent muggings aren't too common, travelers still need to be cautious. Plan ahead so that you don't have to walk alone at night, keep your valuables close at hand in busy places, and never leave your bag out of reach.

When using an ATM, be conscious about anyone who may be watching or following you.

Dress appropriately

For female travelers, it is advised to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing. Women should consider wearing ankle-length skirts and tops covering the shoulders. You can visit a local store and buy some local clothing.

Wearing Indian clothing allows you to blend in better and stay covered.

Never accept food or drink from strangers

There have been occasional reports of drink spiking, so extra care should be taken to ensure your drink is never left unattended. It is recommended to be cautious accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

Any vendor using tap water should also be strictly avoided, such as street-side juice shops.

Use domestic flight, if travel by train, book an upper berth

When travelling domestically around India, booking a flight is the safest and most comfortable mode of transport. It is fine to travel by train, but be extra cautious.

When booking your train journey, request an upper berth. This will not only be a place to keep your bags secure during the day, but will also give you a sense of privacy.

Don’t stray into streets alone, especially at night

Indian cities now have some great nightlife. From concept restaurants and themed bars to a line-up of acclaimed performing arts, options are in abundance. However, a solo night out in India is never a good idea.

It’s always better to have someone with you when you go out, even more so if you’re new to the place.

Get a local sim card

In India, it’s not very easy to find wifi connectivity. This is why getting a local sim card should be a priority if you want to have constant internet connection. Find out which network has the best connectivity in your area and get a sim card to suit.

Learn to say “no”

Taxi drivers, tour guides and street hawkers will come at you with full intensity trying to sell their services. Firmly saying “no” without being rude is the easiest way to get out of such situations. Be confident in your tone as well as your body language instead of being flustered.

Note down emergency phone numbers

Always keep the contact details of local police nearby. Many cities also have separate helpdesks for women. You should also know who to get in touch with in the case of medical emergencies, and have the numbers of public transport services and other support communities.

Carry a power bank

Having a mobile phone with you at all times is especially essential for navigating via GPS. Sometimes auto-rickshaws and taxi drivers take you on less familiar routes, and that’s when GPS is crucial to ensuring you’re on the right course.

Make sure that your phone is fully charged. In addition, keeping a power bank as back-up is useful.

Areas with terrorism

There is a significant threat from terrorism in India. Terrorist groups have in the past issued statements threatening to carry out attacks in India. Terrorist attacks may be directed at national institutions within major cities, religious sites, festivals, tourist sites, hotels, markets, fairs, major sporting events, and public transport.

Attacks have in the past targeted public places that are frequented by western tourists. Further attacks cannot be ruled out, including in large cities and popular tourist destinations such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Goa.

Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh. Irregular violence also occurs in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley including Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam.

Indian-Pakistan border

India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. It is not recommended to travel to the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at the international border crossing between Atari, India and Wagah, Pakistan. Landmines pose a risk along some stretches of the India-Pakistan border.

Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, also occur occasionally in the northeast. Traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization are also prohibited.

Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. These extremists have conducted numerous terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

Women Travelers

Personal safety, particularly for women is a concern in India. Numerous cases of sexual offences have been reported against foreign women in different parts of India, including in major cities and tourist destinations. Women travelers should take particular care, even when travelling in a group and avoid travelling alone on public transportation, especially at night.

Personal safety

Women should avoid wearing skimpy or revealing clothing. This includes strappy tops, long see-through cotton skirts, which are regarded as underwear by Indians, and shorts or cut-off trousers. A long tunic over loose trousers is recommended.

You should also be conservative of your body language. Actions like touching someone’s arm while talking to them might be misinterpreted in a conservative country like India. Be mindful of keeping your physical distance from men even while being open to them, especially on public transportation where personal space is at a premium.

Do not walk in the countryside on your own. If you must, always have a mobile in your hand and a speed-dial number to call for help. Use it, even to make a fake call, as soon as you start feeling uncomfortable.

Dealing with men

Do not be too friendly with men who approach you at tourist sites or with hotel staff too. Instead strike up conversations with the women. Even on trains it is rare to see an Indian woman talk to a strange man unless she is with her husband.

Finally, do not confront staring Indian males. This might be seen as a come-on. Instead, you can avert your eyes down and away. This signals that you have no interest in further interaction.

Security

India’s extraordinary population growth, rapid urbanization, economic prosperity is driving the need for robust safety and security measures particularly in the critical national infrastructure sectors. Initiations made by the Indian Government include many essential infrastructure projects including 100 new airports, six mega ports and the development of 100 smart cities across the country.

The electronic security systems and solutions market is one of the important sub-sectors of the security industry in India. With the introduction of the smart cities initiative, India is witnessing rapid urbanization. Furthermore, secondary cities are also expected to adopt electronic security systems in the medium to the long-term.

The government’s plan to modernize existing airports, ports, railways, industrial zones, development of smart cities, law enforcement agencies, are major drivers of growth. India is currently developing and expanding airports to handle the surge in air traffic passengers which will lead to growth in the safety, screening and surveillance market.

The Indian Government is working toward the modernization of the police force to improve internal security and provide modern weapons. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are also considered to be deployed to monitor rail tracks in order to improve its safety. Drones will be used for crowd management, inspection, compliance, collision avoidance rescue and relief operations.

Personal Health

Staying safe doesn’t just include defending yourself against criminal activities but also taking care of your health. When in India, it’s important to watch what you eat and drink.

Not just food, there are also some other issues that you need to take into consideration to ensure a healthy body whilst visiting India.

Medical facilities and hospitals

The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players. Most big hospitals in the major cities are already equipped with medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment.

India boasts an array of hospitals providing world-class healthcare services to the people coming from all over the world. They are fully-equipped with the latest infrastructure to handle even the most complex medical treatments.

These hospitals work according to the international benchmark set by the global medical fraternity and are easily accessible around the major cities in India.

Pharmacies

The pharmaceutical industry in India ranks 3rd in the world in terms of volume and 14th in terms of value.The cities of Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are the major pharmaceutical hubs of India. These major cities have well-stocked pharmacies.

You can buy many medications over the counter in India without a doctor’s prescription, but some of the newer drugs may not be readily available, particularly the latest anti-depressant drugs, blood-pressure medications and contraceptive pills.

Heat and Humidity

Between March and June, India experiences the highest temperatures. Northern India has average temperatures of 24 to 36 degree celsius and Southern India has average temperatures of 25 to 32 degree celsius.

During the day, temperatures can even rise to 40 degree celsius. Air pollution levels can also be alarmingly high in urban areas during this period.

To prevent dehydration, you should drink plenty of fluids. It is advisable to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day during peak summer. If you are outdoors, wear a hat, sunglasses, and use sunscreen.

Stomach Upsets and Diarrhea

The tap water in India is generally unsafe to drink. Even if you stick to bottled water, you may still get a bad stomach from dirty ice, fruit and vegetables washed with dirty water, or water droplets on plates and utensils.

Always check the seal of the bottled water before paying in shops and restaurants. A loose lid could mean that a bottle has been refilled with unsafe water. Also, don’t eat street food that has clearly been sitting around for too long.

Cuts and Bites

Since dogs and other animals, especially monkeys as you can find them uncaged all around India, are carriers of diseases, the best policy is to avoid them. The malaria-carrying anopheles mosquito is endemic throughout most of India, as well as mosquitos carrying the dengue fever.

You should consult with your doctor about vaccinations before traveling to India. Taking anti-malaria tablets is also essential, but you should also take precautions by covering your skin and apply mosquito repellent, as well as sleeping under mosquito nets.

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Explore India with Asia Highlights

Gloriously colorful India is a land of incredible sights. Just keep in mind that India has some cultural customs you need to know about before heading out, and also some health and safety precautions. Travel to India with Asia Highlights and make your experience wonderful.