By: Annet Preethi Furtado
September 20 2023
News outlets report that Canada's supposed updated travel advisory cautions against travel to India. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
The current guidance has been on the travel and tourism section of the Canadian government website for over two years.
Amid strained relations between India and Canada, several news organizations incorrectly reported that Canada has issued a fresh travel advisory asking citizens to "exercise a high degree of caution" and "avoid all travel to Jammu and Kashmir."
The false claim was reported by leading news organizations following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's September 18 speech, where he said authorities are investigating "credible allegations" regarding India's involvement in the death of separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was shot dead in a Vancouver suburb on June 18.
On September 19, Indian news agency ANI shared a post on X reporting on this alleged travel advisory. "Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest, and kidnapping. This advisory excludes traveling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh, as stated in Canada's updated travel advisory for India," the X post said. An archived version of the post can be found here.
Screenshot of ANI X post alleging that Canada has added a warning against traveling to Jammu and Kashmir in its latest travel advisory for India. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Several media outlets such as Hindustan Times, Deccan Chronicle, The Economic Times, Outlook, India Today, NDTV, The Indian Express, Money Control, WION, Times Now, and Inshorts also reported that Canada had updated its travel advisory and asked citizens to exercise caution when traveling to India and specifically warned against travel to Jammu and Kashmir.
Snapshot of news outlets reporting on Canada's supposed updated travel advisory cautioning against travel to India. (Source: NDTV/Hindustan Times/Deccan Chronicle/Outlook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, Canada has not recently revised its travel advisory for India or specifically Jammu and Kashmir. The current guidance has been on the travel and tourism section of the Canadian government website for over two years.
What are the facts?
Canada issues travel advisories to inform its citizens about different countries and regions' safety and security conditions, including entry requirements, health considerations, and safety tips.
As of September 18, Canada recommends exercising a "high degree of caution" when traveling to India. The advisory also includes specific recommendations for regions within India - parts of northeastern India (avoid non-essential travel), Jammu and Kashmir (avoid all travel), and border areas with Pakistan (avoid all travel).
We found that contrary to the reports by Indian media, Canada's advisory for travel to India, dating back to July 2023, May 2023, January 2022, and July 2021, consistently advised against traveling to Jammu and Kashmir due to the "unpredictable security situation." The advisories have highlighted the threat of "terrorism, militancy, civil unrest, and kidnapping" in this region. Further, internet archives show Canadian authorities have advised against travel to Jammu and Kashmir and urged exercising a "high degree of caution" due to "a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country at all times" since at least November 2012.
The sections on travel to northeastern India and border areas with Pakistan in the September 18 advisory also match an advisory from July 2021.
The only update in the most recent advisory on the website is stated at the top - "The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)." Accordingly, the health section of the September 18 advisory reflects more recent health notices about measles, Zika virus, and COVID and international travel.
Misleading narratives are making rounds on social media amid the rift between the two countries which deepened when the Canadian government expelled a senior Indian diplomat this week, in response to which India asked a senior Canadian diplomat to leave the country on September 19.
"Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement Tuesday.
Several news media outlets erroneously reported that Canada updated its travel advisory for India. Canada's travel advisory has consistently urged a "high degree of caution" in traveling to India and advised against travel to the Jammu and Kashmir region due to security concerns.