Dangers & Annoyances
Travelling Safely in the Northeast States
In recent decades, many ethno-linguistic groups in the Northeast have jostled – often violently – to assert themselves in the face of illegal immigration from neighbouring countries, governmental apathy and a heavy-handed security policy. Some want independence from India, others autonomy, but many are fighting what are effectively clan or turf wars. While peace mostly prevails, and numbers of violent insurgency-related incidents have fallen far below their peaks of the 1990s and 2000s, trouble can flare up suddenly and unpredictably. In December 2014, attacks by Bodo groups killed more than 70 people across Assam. In June 2015, guerrillas ambushed an army convoy and killed 18 soldiers in Manipur, and in 2016 and ’17, the state was ravaged by four months of road blockades, arson, violence and curfews. It pays to keep abreast of the headlines on TV and in local papers. If you’re with a tour company, talk to the operators to make sure your field guide is up to date with the situation.
The following news websites have the latest updates on Northeast India:
- Arunachal Times (www.arunachaltimes.in)
- Assam Tribune (www.assamtribune.com)
- Morung Express (Nagaland; www.morungexpress.com)
- Nagaland Post (www.nagalandpost.com)
- Northeast Now (www.nenow.in)
- Northeast Today (www.northeasttoday.in)
- Sangai Express (Manipur; www.thesangaiexpress.com)
- Time8 (www.time8.in)
- TNT (www.thenortheasttoday.com)
These websites provide updates, timelines, analysis and the history of insurgency in the Northeast:
Centre for Development and Peace Studies (www.cdpsindia.org)
Global Security (www.globalsecurity.org)
South Asia Terrorism Portal (www.satp.org)
Entry & Exit Formalities
Rules and regulations about visiting the Northeast States change from time to time. The following is the situation as of early 2019. Whatever permit you get, make several copies of it as you'll often have to hand one in at checkpoints, police stations and hotels.
Since 2011, Arunachal Pradesh is the only state for which foreigners need a permit. For Arunachal, the Protected Area Permit is valid for 30 days, costs the rupee equivalent of US$30 (US$60 for solo-traveller permits), and can be obtained in a couple of days through tour companies or, with a bit more effort, independently.
Foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram or Nagaland have to register with the police within 24 hours of arrival, but this is almost always taken care of automatically when you check in to a hotel.
Indians need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram or Nagaland. These normally cost ₹100 or less and, depending on the state, can be applied for online, on arrival, or at the state's representatives in some other states.
Arunachal Pradesh You can apply online (www.arunachalilp.com) or in person at the Guwahati airport, Naharlagun train station or Arunachal government offices in Delhi, Kolkata, Shillong, Guwahati and elsewhere (www.arunachaltourism.com/inner.php).
Mizoram Available on arrival at the Aizawl airport or from some Mizoram government offices in other states (www.mizoram.gov.in/page/get-in).
Nagaland Apply online (www.nagaland.gov.in/portal/portal/StatePortal/OnlineService/IssueILPService) or in person at Nagaland government offices in other states (www.home.nagaland.gov.in/inner-line-permit-ilp).