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New warning for Australian travelers

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Australian travelers are urged to exercise extreme caution in India over the coming weeks as the mammoth country heads to the polls in the largest democratic election in history.

Smartraveller, the government’s travel advisory body, issued a new alert to the glamorous South Asian nation on Thursday, warning travelers that “frequent political rallies and possible protests are likely to occur before , during and after the elections.

“You can expect traffic delays and restricted access to locations. Avoid protests and demonstrations and monitor local media for the latest updates,” the memo said.

Polling for India’s general elections will begin on April 19 and continue until June 1, with results announced around June 4.

The scale of the vote dwarfs elections in the West.

As of January 2023, there were more than 945 million registered voters in India, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a US think tank.

More than 11 million election workers will travel across the vast country during voting weeks to ensure all eligible voters can cast their ballots.

The election will determine who sits in India’s lower house, the country’s most powerful legislative body.

The party that wins the most seats appoints one of its members as Prime Minister.

Along with the new alert, Smartraveller maintains its advice to exercise a “high degree of caution in India as a whole” due to its handling of terrorism and crime and the risk of civil unrest.

More serious levels of advice apply to some parts of the country.

The government has issued a ‘do not travel’ warning for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and India-Pakistan border areas due to the ‘danger of armed clashes, terrorist activities and violent protests “.

A “consider your need to travel” alert is in place for the Atari-Wagah border post, the northeastern states of Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland and Manipur, Chhattisgarh and border areas of neighboring states.

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