Semester at Sea administrators are aware of the recent airstrikes near the Kashmir region of India, which are escalating long-standing tensions between India and Pakistan. With the World Odyssey‚Äôs arrival in Cochin, India on February 28, Semester at Sea has consulted security advisors and intelligence analysts who advise that, despite increased military rhetoric, there is no reason to believe the situation will escalate beyond the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Based on these reports, the Spring 2019 Voyage will not alter the upcoming call to India.
The shipboard administrative team will be advising students during the mandatory pre-port briefings to be safe and conscientious when traveling throughout India with the understanding that anti-Pakistani or nationalist demonstrations may increase over the next few days. Voyagers will be instructed to avoid all demonstrations and to limit travel to areas south of Delhi (still approximately 500 miles from the Jammu and Kashmir region and the Pakistan-India border). This travel restriction will not affect travel to the Taj Mahal, Agra, or Jaipur. All Semester at Sea field programs will continue as scheduled with the exception of the Amazing Taj and Spiritual Golden Temple (KOC 410-201), which will be adjusted to avoid travel to Amritsar. The Semester at Sea field office has communicated with voyagers on that particular program with more information.
The U.S. Embassy in India¬†advises avoiding areas within 10 kilometers of the India-Pakistan border. They also warn of airport closures and possible flight disruptions. As of now, Semester at Sea field programs are not affected, but the field office will work with our local tour operators in the event field program flights need to be rescheduled. Voyagers traveling independently in India should closely monitor their flight status and check in with the airline directly to ensure their flights have not been cancelled.
Semester at Sea will continue to monitor the situation in India and will adjust the itinerary immediately in the event the safety of the Spring 2019 Voyage community is in jeopardy. As always, voyagers should be sure to download the Safey app and regularly check their Semester at Sea email while in-country. Semester at Sea administration will use these platforms in the event they need to communicate to the Semester at Sea community while in-port. The Safey app also enables Semester at Sea administration to locate students in the event of an emergency.¬†