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Certain border areas which were so far restricted for the foreign tourists might soon become open for visit. The government of India is planning to relax the six-decade-old Restricted Area Permit regime to visit parts Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim among others.
Earlier, the foreigners were required to arrange a special permit to visit these pristine locations but Union home ministry is now planning to lift the Restricted Area Permit provisions in certain areas after coordinating with other agencies and the state governments.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said, "Discussions are on with the state governments to relax the Restricted Area Permit provisions for some areas for foreign tourists." However, even after the restrictions are relaxed, citizens of Pakistan and China won't be allowed in these areas.
The development is intended to promote tourism, create job opportunities for the locals and generate revenue for the state, an MHA official said. Tourism minister K J Alphons affirmed, "Easing these norms will facilitate tourism and allow more people to be able to see far-flung places."
While the foreign diplomats will require a special permit from Ministry of External Affairs, citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan won't receive any permit without the prior approval of the Union home ministry. Various authorities have been delegated special powers for issuing special permits.
Areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas in 1958 under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order. Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland were excluded from the protected area regime WEF January 1, 2011.