Good news for foreigners planning to visit the Andaman Islands, The Government of India (GoI) removes Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from 29 islands in Andaman, in order to foster tourism in the archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Thus, the foreigners will now no longer require the RAP till December 31st, 2022, to explore the 29 occupied islands in the Union Territory.
Removal of RAP signifies that now tourists from abroad do not require any permit to visit the North Andaman, Havelock, East Island, Smith Island, Tillang Chong Island, Curfew Island, Nancowry, Katchal, Middle Andaman, Ayes Island, Teressa, Interview Island, Baratang, North Passage, Neil Island, South Andaman, North Sentinel Island, Flat Bay, Chowra, Little Andaman, Stewart Island, Great Nicobar, Pulomilo, Kamorta, Long Island, Strait Island, Land Fall Island, Narcondam Island and Little Nicobar.
Besides this, the foreigners can also avail the benefit of traveling to the 11 uninhabited islands here, though just for one day. Howbeit, the government is still in doubt about extending the privilege for the natives of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
A senior official from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that RAP is required by the people from the aforementioned countries to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In such cases, a prior approval of the MHA is required to grant the permit. Apart from this, the people from Myanmar planning a trip to Diglipur and Mayabunder in the Andaman Islands, will require the Restricted Area Permit which is granted only after MHA’s prior approval.
However, visitors still need separate approvals of the concerned authorities to visit wildlife sanctuaries, reserved forests and tribal reserves.