New Year bonanza for NE: Govt lifts curb on foreign tourists

New Delhi: In a New Year bonanza for Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, the Centre has lifted a decades-old rules of obtaining permission by any foreigner visiting the three north-eastern states.

"The government has decided to exclude Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland from the Protected Area regime notified under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958, initially for a period of one year," a Home Ministry statement said.

However, all foreigners visiting these states will have to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival.

The order will come into effect from the new year day. The restriction was in force since pre-independence days.

Now Arunachal Pradesh is the only state left in the Northeast where foreigners are required to take prior permission before any visit.

Citizens of some specified countries, including Pakistan and China, would, however, continue to require prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs before their visit to these three states.

Indian diplomatic missions have also been authorised to issue 'Missionary Visa' to foreign missionaries visiting these three states as per the extant guidelines of the government.

These changes will ease the difficulties being faced by foreigners to visit Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.