The State Department is warning U.S. citizens about heightened security concerns in India, and advises those traveling to or already in the country to remain highly vigilant avoiding crowds and demonstrations and keeping a low profile by not calling attention to one's nationality. This replaces the Travel Alert issued on November 29 and expires on January 5, 2009.
The Government of India has ordered heightened security measures at airports and the surrounding areas throughout India, and alerted airline security officials that threat information has been received targeting airports on or around December 4 through December 6. All major airports in India, including those in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Kochi, have been placed on high alert following threats of airport attacks and hijacking of planes.
Passengers will be allowed entry to an airport only after showing valid photo identity cards and are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance for both domestic and international flights. Indian security forces will be conducting checks of vehicles, passenger baggage, airport entrances, and exit roads. Under this heightened security system where extra surveillance has been set up at most airports, passengers should expect to be frisked several times before boarding the aircraft.
The November 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks in part targeted American citizens and other westerners for the first time and tragically demonstrate that even in five-star luxury hotels, security is not equipped to deter such attacks. U.S. citizens should take this new reality into account and exercise caution when visiting India. Prudent security measures include maintaining a high level of vigilance.
Americans are advised to monitor local news reports, vary their routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security when visiting public places, including religious sites, hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and recreation venues. If unattended packages are spotted, American citizens should immediately exit the area and report the packages to authorities.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at travel.state.gov.