Now US, Israel Defence Experts Can Visit Border Region Near China, Pakistan

How will Pakistan and China react when they encounter Isreali and US defence experts in sensitive border regions? The India Ministry of Defence has permitted the military advisors (defence attaches) of foreign nations visit the sensitive border areas of India. Until now, they were not allowed to travel freely and could only visit selective locations or approved places across the country.

The military diplomats posted in embassies and high commissions based in New Delhi will be allowed to visit India’s sensitive border areas, some of which will be allowed to visit Leh with their spouses.

A senior official, based in South Block, explained that the decision will apply only to military diplomats belonging to friendly countries. Leh, capital of Ladakh, is a home to the headquarters of Indian Army’s 14 Corps, which oversees the sensitive eastern Ladakh border with China on the Line of Actual Control and Line of Control with Pakistan. 14 Corps looks after Kargil, Dras, Batalik and Siachen, which is the world’s highest battleground.

“The defence attaches will not only visit the 14 Corps headquarters but also some locations close to the border with China and Pakistan. The ministry of defence and the Army headquarters are working on the proposal, and embassies have been asked to respond to it,” said a senior official. According to the plan, the first batch of nearly 50 defence attaches, with their spouses, will be sent to Leh and its surrounding areas in October.

Officials said that if it happens, this will be the first time foreign military officers are allowed into the Ladakh sector. The proposal was mooted after several diplomats requested the government to allow them to visit far-flung areas across India, especially the high altitude areas.

This move is seen as part of a series of government initiatives under “open up” policy. Last month, the Union home ministry lifted the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from 29 inhabited islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were restrained for outsiders. As per the latest notification from MHA, foreigners will also be allowed into 11 uninhabited islands for day visits, to be reported by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration.

An MHA official said 29 inhabited islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been barred from the Restricted Area Permit regime, notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963, till December 31, 2022, subject to certain restraints. These islands are: East Island, North Andaman, Smith Island, Curfew Island, Stewart Island, Land Fall Island, Little Andaman, Chowra, Tillang Chong Island, Teressa, Katchal, Nancowry, Kamorta Ayes Island, Middle Andaman, Long Island, Strait Island, North Passage, Baratang, South Andaman, Havelock, Neil Island, Flat Bay, North Sentinel Island, Pulomilo, Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, Narcondam Island and Interview Island.

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