Beijing: China has issued a travel advisory to its nationals visiting India, the first such warning after the Doklam standoff, warning them about denial of visas to visit “restricted areas” like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Chinese Embassy in India issued the advisory, the third in four months, for Chinese tourists in India. The warning was posted on the embassy’s website on Tuesday, and detailed several situations the embassy handled recently in which Chinese tourists were denied entry or investigated while travelling in India, state-run Global Times reported on Thursday.
“Some Chinese citizens visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are restricted areas for foreigners, without gaining permits from India. Some tourists were asked to return upon arrival. Some were even arrested or investigated,” the statement read. “(Visitors should) not photograph India’s border and military facilities and vehicles. While travelling on India’s border neighbouring Nepal, avoid visiting border markets, and do not enter the territory of other countries by mistake,” it added.
On July 7, weeks after the Doklam crisis began, the Chinese mission in India issued its first warning, asking Chinese nationals to reduce unnecessary travel to India, maintain a low profile when there, and respect local laws and law enforcement personnel. It reissued the warning on August 24. The 73-day Doklam standoff started on June 16 when Chinese troops attempted to build a road in territory claimed by Bhutan close to the Indian border. Indian troops objected to it and stopped the Chinese from building the road.
The standoff was finally resolved on August 28. Chinese tourists make up three per cent of foreign tourists visiting India each year, the Global Times quoted Indian media reports as saying. From January to May, 2017, about 119,000 visitors from China visited India, an increase of 9.2 per cent year-on-year. India has granted e-visa facility for Chinese travellers.
A report by state-run Xinhua news agency two days ago said China is becoming one of the most popular destinations for Indian tourists. It is estimated that the number of outbound tourists from India will reach 50 million overall by 2020, up from 21.87 million in 2016, the report said.