Minister of State for tourism KJ Alphons recently said that the ministry has proposed to remove restrictions for foreigners who want to travel to Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Sikkim. The centre has maintained travel restrictions in these sensitive areas.
The ministry has proposed opening up the Northeast for tourists. In the last six months the government has opened up many restricted areas and if the plan in the Northeast works, then many more border areas can be opened up Alphons said.
He further informed that the restrictions can be removed only if the home ministry and the defence ministry approve the proposal. The states too need to be consulted and as of now we cannot give a deadline for this Alphons added.
For now, foreigners need to apply for travel documents such as the protected area permit (PAP) and the restricted area permit (RAP). Some areas in Northeast are considered sensitive due to a long history of insurgency in the region.
Presently, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland are excluded from the protected area permit rule till December 2022. Also, the whole of Arunachal Pradesh is under the protected area permit rule, and no foreigner can enter or stay in the state without the document.
In March, Kiren Rijiju MoS (Home) had also said the government is working to ease travel rules for foreigners within India. However, citizens from Pakistan and China may still need to apply for the permit even if the rules are eased, officials had said.