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ANI claims Canada Issued Travel Advisory Urging ‘High Degree Of Caution’ While Traveling To India, Canadian Embassy Refutes ‘News’

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Canada has updated its travel advisory to India, warning travellers of ‘unpredictable situation’ in Jammu and Kashmir amid diplomatic standoff.

Fact
Canadian Embassy in New Delhi has confirmed that the advisory cautioning against travel to Jammu & Kashmir is not new, and has remained unchanged since at least July 2021. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement referring to ‘allegations’ that India played a role in the murder of Canadian citizen and Khalistani sympathiser Hardeep Singh Nijjar is snowballing into a major controversy and threatening to cast more strain on the New Delhi-Toronto ties. 

In wake of the episode, Indian news agency ANI, has shared a post on social media platform X, on September 19, 2023,  claiming that the Canadian government has issued a fresh travel advisory to its citizens travelling to India, warning of the ‘unpredicatable situation in Jammu and Kashmir’, highlighting “terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping”. The agency also published a news item on its website carrying the same claim.

This post has garnered over 350 comments and over 500 retweets at the time of publishing this article.

ANI claims Canada Issued Travel Advisory Urging 'High Degree Of Caution' While Traveling To India, Canadian Embassy Refutes ‘News’
A screengrab of the social media post by ANI announcing that Canada has updated its travel advisory to India

The Indian media outlets keeping track of the growing diplomatic tiff were quick to pick up on the post, running the story on their news bulletins and carrying it on their websites.

WION, Indian Express, Times of India, Hindustan Times, India Today, were few of the major pulbications that carried the news item. 

Times Now, NDTV Hindi, MOJO Story, CNN News18 are among some of the TV channels that carried the news item on its bulletins. 

Fact check/Verification

Newschecker began by looking up the website of the Canadian government’s travel advisory to India and noticed that the last updated version of the page was on September 18, 2023 14:48 ET. The section on Jammu and Kashmir was titled “Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir – Avoid all travel” and further read “Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping. This advisory excludes travelling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh.”  

The website also informed that the latest update was regarding health. “Latest updates: The Health section was updated – travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)” it read. 

Since countries around the world regularly updated travel advisories for their citizens, we  checked the archived versions of the page on archive.org and found that the page had been archived on multiple occasions in the past.

The webpage archived on July 19, 2023 read “Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping. This advisory excludes travelling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh.” 

The page showed that it as last updated on July 6, 2023 09:49 ET. This is word-to-word of what was on the website on September 18.

Archived version of September 18, 2023

Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping. This advisory excludes travelling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Archived version of July 29, 2021

Avoid all travel to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a threat of terrorism, militancy, civil unrest and kidnapping. This advisory excludes travelling to or within the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Archived version of July 10, 2021

Avoid all travel to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, due to sporadic terrorist activity and violent demonstrations. This advisory excludes travelling to Ladakh via Manali, and air travel to Leh.

Similarly, in the current year 2023, till date, the page has been archived on 13 occassions including the latest version, all of which showed the same text under the heading of Jammu and Kashmir, and has remained unchanged. 

We also found that the same web page was updated 24 times in 2022 and the text under the heading of Jammu and Kashmir remained unchanged. 

On verifying the archived versions of the webpage, the last time the section could have been updated was on on July 27, 2021. “Latest updates: Thorough review and update of the entire travel advice content,” the update section read. 

An earlier version of the page, archived on July 10, 2021 is carries a different text. “Avoid all travel to the states of Jammu and Kashmir, due to sporadic terrorist activity and violent demonstrations. This advisory excludes travelling to Ladakh via Manali, and air travel to Leh.” 

We also found that the portion which urges Canadian citizens to exercise “high degree of caution in India due to terrorist attacks throughout the country” has consistently appeared in travel advisories to India. The earliest record of this caution that we could find dates back  to the archived version on November 19, 2017 where it states,  “Exercise a high degree of caution in India due to a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country at all times”.

We also contacted the High Commission of Canada based in New Delhi. The High Commission confirmed to Newschecker that the update on Jammu and Kashmir is not recent. “The updated Travel Advisory of September 18 was only for the health section update. The risk level and regional advisories did not change,” we were informed. 

Conclusion

The assertion made by news wire ANI regarding Canada’s updated travel advisory amid tensions between India and Canada is False. This information has been in place since July 27, 2021 and is not a recent development.

Result: False

Sources
Archive.org page of Canadian travel advisory to India dated September 19, 2023
Archive.org page of Canadian travel advisory to India dated July 19, 2023
Archive.org page of Canadian travel advisory to India dated July 27, 2021
Archive.org page of Canadian travel advisory to India dated July 10, 2021
Archive.org page of Canadian travel advisory to India dated November 19, 2017
Communication with officials of the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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