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India may relax entry to restricted areas for tourism Email this page
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BANGKOK: India may relax rules in the restrictive areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Leh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to promote tourism in these picturesque regions without compromising security, a senior Minister has said. The People Area Permit (PAP) and Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from certain pockets of Arunachal Pradesh, Leh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir will be relaxed to promote tourism, Minister of State for home Kiren Rijiju said here. Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, said tourists including foreigners, were keen to visit places like Buddhist shrines, and some of these were inside the restricted zone.
“If you restrict a region it will never open up. Link will always be restrictive. We are not lifting all restrictions. We want to open up for foreigners partially, with less restriction, to all visitors”, Rijiju said. He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, where he was leading an Indian delegation.

The minister who has been given the charge of the northeast region emphasized the need to open these areas to domestic and foreign tourists with less restriction and develop infrastructure in the bordering areas. “We don’t want to lift RAP and PAP. We want to relax to extent that it does not pose security risk,” the minister said. He said, if a region was restricted and made inaccessible to tourists it would never develop. “We are not lifting all restrictions, but would like to open these areas to domestic and foreign tourists with less restriction and develop infrastructure in the bordering areas to make it easily accessible to all visitors,” he said. India’s look east can be substantiated only through north east India, Rijiju said.

The northeast can be a hub of tourism, culture and trade, he said adding that it was also important strategically. The minister said that with the tripartite agreement on road link connecting South East Asia to India through the north east, the country could benefit immensely in trade and integration. “Without northeast, India would largely be South Asia. Northeast has forest land, water, oil, gas, coal reserves. So blessed, so strategic we need to understand our own importance,” the minister said. “I am excited being a minister where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the north east will be interconnected within the north east too,” he added referring to development of infrastructure.-PTI

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