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Australia continues to flag India as Travel Destination that warrants a “high degree of caution”

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Taj Mahal
Is Taj Maha just a 'cemetery'? Pixabay

New Delhi, April 13, 2017: Australia may be considering India a priority country in its international relationship as the two nations move towards closer strategic and security cooperation following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s just-concluded visit to India, but in its official travel advisory Australia continues to flag India as a travel destination that warrants a “high degree of caution” .

In fact, an intending Australian traveller to India may be well discouraged from planning a visit to the country — or even cancelling a planned visit — if he or she were to read all the warnings and caveats about the “high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime, and the high rate of vehicle accidents” as well as the safety of women, poor air quality and social volatility.

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The Australian travel advisory was updated as late as March 20 this year — days before Turnbull visited India and reviewed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi “the entire gamut of bilateral relations; number of forward-looking decisions taken to further strengthen our partnership”.

India has been trying to woo visitors from Australia with its “Incredible India” campaign. Last year, India organised “Confluence: Festival of India in Australia” from August to November “to provide a boost to tourism and to the art precincts in” Indian cities.

But the advisory on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian government says “there are several regions of India where we advise Australians to reconsider your need to travel, or avoid all travel”.

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“Violent protests and demonstrations occur sporadically throughout India,” says the advisory.

“Exercise a high degree of caution in India because of the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.”

The advisory also includes venues of Indian festivals, religious sites and markets where “travellers should maintain heightened vigilance”.

Without naming Pakistan or any other country, the advisory points out that militants cross “the border into India with the intention of conducting attacks”.

“It is likely they will continue to try and do so. Terrorist groups regularly issue statements threatening to launch attacks in India.”

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“The threat of terrorism exists in all Indian cities and tourist centres. In the past, terrorists have targeted areas frequented by tourists including hotels, markets, tourist sites, transport hubs and public transport networks, and religious sites.

“Attacks have also targeted local courts, sporting events and cinemas, and Indian security and political establishments. Major tourist sites and shopping centres are also potential targets for attack,” the advisory goes on to say.

Cautioning against “dangerous” road travel, “undisciplined and aggressive” driving practices “poor quality and congested” Indian roads, Australian visitors are also warned that “you are three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in India than in” the home country.

“Accidents are commonplace and the number of road traffic deaths is high. Travelling by road at night is particularly dangerous due to insufficient or non-existent street lighting and the presence of other vehicles driving with headlights off or on high beam. Vehicles may travel in the wrong direction, often without warning.”

The advisory also flags women safety as a high-priority issue, cautioning females visiting India for religious purposes against risks of sexual assaults by faith leaders.

“There are persistent allegations and media reports of sexual misconduct involving religious groups and their leaders in India. Australians visiting India for such religious purposes should be aware of these risks.”

It also notes that foreign women could be subjected to “unwanted attention and more serious harassment and assault” in India where “successful prosecutions are rare”.

After reading this ominous advisory not many Australians may be inclined to make India their immediate travel destination. (IANS)

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India Sold Over 204 mn WiFi Devices in 2018: Report

The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base

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As many as 204.5 million WiFi enabled consumer devices were sold in 2018, with mobile phones contributing close to 90 per cent of the sales, a new report said on Tuesday.

According to market research firm techARC, WiFi sale of enabled devices is expected to grow at 8 per cent in 2019 with sales touching 221 million units, primarily led by smart and connected devices for home and office automation.

“The future lies in wireless highspeed connectivity and WiFi offers one of the most reliable and affordable alternatives to it. We have seen so far WiFi enablement through legacy IT and communications devices like laptops, routers and smartphones.

“This is now shifting to other consumer electronics like TVs, lighting, ACs and refrigerators. At the same time, it’s also penetrating into automobiles as well as other traditionally dumb IT peripherals like storage devices,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at techARC, said in a statement.

Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

In terms of active user base, the research firm estimates India is having close to 600 million consumer devices being used for communication, productivity, entertainment and other smart and connected use cases.

Also Read: Love is Central to Friendship on Snapchat in India

The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base.

However, the growth will be seen more in smart TVs including streaming devices as well as other home automation/smart devices leveraging WiFi connectivity. (IANS)