Canada has just updated its advisory for travellers to India — but India has also released an advisory for its citizens who travel to the great white north.
According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, there has been a "sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities in Canada" and people travelling to the country should exercise caution.
The crimes have been discussed with the Canadian authorities but the perpetrators have not been brought to justice, said the Indian government.
But the head of a Sikh group based in Mississauga, Ontario, said the allegations in the advisory are directed at peaceful Sikh political activism in Canada and are baseless.
Balpreet Singh, a spokesman for the World Sikh Organization, said the statement is "completely political" and there is no evidence of any rise in sectarian violence or extremism targeting Indian nationals or students in Canada.
He said a Hindu temple was vandalized with graffiti in Toronto last week, but police there have so far not linked that incident to "anti-India activities."
Canada updates its travel advisory for India
On Oct. 1, the Canadian government updated its advice for travellers headed to India. Tourists should exercise a high degree of caution in India due to the "threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country."
There are parts of India that should be completely avoided, however. Parts of Northeastern India, including Assam and Manipur, should be avoided for all non-essential travel due to terrorism and insurgency.
The advisory notes that all travel should be avoided in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation that includes a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest, and kidnapping. The advisory does not apply to people "travelling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh," however.
Due to an "unpredictable security situation, presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance," travellers should also avoid all travel to areas within 10 km of the Pakistan border in the following states: Gujarat, Punjab, and Rajasthan. The advisory excludes the Wagah border crossing.
There is a threat of terrorism across India, mostly from Maoist extremist insurgents, known as Naxalites. The groups are typically based in "rural and forested areas within zones," according to the advisory.
Other crimes, such as pick-pocketing and ATM fraud, are also common in the country. Find out more information on how to stay safe with Canada's India travel advisory.
With files from the Canadian Press.