Monday, December 08, 2008

India and Egypt

I got my Indian visa today. We're going there for about two and a half weeks in January and February. We fly into Bangalore and fly out of Mumbai.

People ask us if we're wary about going to India after the Mumbai attacks. Of course we are. But I'm not hugely afraid of terrorists. I figure that security in Mumbai will, if anything, be increased by the time we arrive in the city. Right now there is a lot of public outrage at the perceived incompetence of the police and the poor state of their equipment. The Mumbai police system won't be reformed by the time we visit the city in early February, but the police will be vigilant.

And before we visit Mumbai, we will spend most of our time in the states of Karnataka and Kerala. Domestic Indian violence has largely bypassed those two states. (This summer there was a series of bomb blasts in Bangalore that killed two people and injured 20, but that was atypical.)

As I said, I'm not hugely afraid of terrorists. What I am worried about is the possibility of the Mumbai attacks adversely affecting Indo-Pakistani relations to the point where a war seems possible by the time we depart. Unfortunately, that seems a very real possibility right now (not a war per se, but the threat of one) and it's our biggest potential worry as our trip approaches.

After India, we're flying on to Egypt, another country with a spotty record of safety for tourists. But since the 1997 Luxor attacks the government has been vigilant, and although there has been violence targeting tourists since then it's been aimed at well-heeled tourists who can afford top-line accommodations - in other words, not us.

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