News agency Asian News International (ANI) and several mainstream Indian news outlets misreported that Canada updated its travel advisory for India warning Canadian citizens to "exercise a high degree of caution" and advised them against traveling to Jammu and Kashmir, after a diplomatic row broke out between India and Canada.
However, BOOM found that the travel advisory for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), parts of the northeast, and areas bordering Pakistan have been on the Canadian travel advisory long before diplomatic tensions between the two countries surfaced.
Global Affairs Canada confirmed to BOOM that no "new risk information" was added to the travel advisory page related to India on the site. The Canadian government department further added the health section in the advisory provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada was updated on September 18, 2023 as part of routine maintenance.
Diplomatic tensions escalated between the two countries after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 19, 2023, alleged a “potential link” between the Indian government and the killing of pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, Canada earlier this year in June. This was followed by the expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat in Canada, with India rejecting the claims and then expelling a senior Canadian diplomat in New Delhi.
News agency ANI posted on X (formerly Twitter) screenshots from the Canadian government's travel advisory to India which stated that Canadian citizens should "exercise a high degree of caution" for parts of India including Union Territory of Jammu And Kashmir, parts of the northeast and border areas to Pakistan.
"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," says Canada in its updated travel advisory for India," ANI wrote.
Click here to view
The same misleading claim was earlier posted by right wing X handle @MeghUpdates, with the caption, "Canada updated travel advisory for India- Exercise Caution !!"
Click here to view
Several Indian media news outlets including Times Of India, Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, India Today, Times Now also carried the same misleading claim attributing it to ANI. These articles do not mention that the advisory is not new and has been in place before the diplomatic tensions began. Times Now later tweeted a clarification.Also Read:False Claim of Former President Pratibha Patil Praising Modi Revived
BOOM found that the Canadian travel advisory for Jammu and Kashmir has been in place long before the current diplomatic standoff between the two countries began.
"No new risk information added:" Global Affairs Canada to BOOM
BOOM also reached out to the Canadian government department - Global Affairs Canada who confirmed that no "new risk information" was added to the travel advisory for India.
The Canadian government department further added the travel health information provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada was updated on September 18, 2023 as part of routine maintenance.
"A number of our Travel Advice and Advisories (TAA) pages, including the page for India, were updated on September 18 as part of pre-scheduled and routine maintenance in the section on travel health information provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada. No new risk information has been added to the India TAA page," a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told BOOM via email.
Wayback Machine Archives Confirm The Same
BOOM checked the Canadian government's travel advisories for its citizens, online and then checked the same URL on Wayback Machine for previous snapshots of the website. The advisory states that it was updated on September 18, 2023 however, only the Health section of the advisory was updated.
We found that the tag of "Exercise a high degree of caution" for India and for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir was in place back in July 2023. Even going back to January 2023, the same travel advisory was in place for Jammu and Kashmir, Northeast India, border areas with Pakistan.
July 2023 - Canada Travel Advisory archive
January 2023 - Canada Travel Advisory archive
A comparison of advisories from January 2023, July 2023, and September 2023, can be seen below. All these advisories have verbatim text on Jammu and Kashmir as well as the "Exercise high degree of caution" tag.
We also checked if any other part of the advisory was tweaked and found changes made only to the Health section of the advisory on September 18, 2023. This update was misreported to claim that the advisory had recently included a directive to avoid travel to Jammu and Kashmir.
Using Wayback Machine, we compared the two archives, one from July 2023 and September 2023. The highlighted section shows changes that were made from July to September.
As can be seen below, information in the health section was updated. This is reflected in the dates of the Relevant Travel Health Notices section.
Similar Advisories For J&K By US, UK, Australia