To promote tourism in Ladakh, the Jammu & Kashmir government has urged the Centre to throw open some more areas on its northern frontier to foreigners.
These new areas, sources said, are located beyond Panamik up to Warshi and include places like Yarma Gompa/Yarma Gonboo monastery situated near the border with China. At present, only domestic tourists are permitted to visit these areas.
The state government’s request follows the Army’s “conditional consent” to opening of these areas for foreign tourists, said sources. In a communiqué dated January 21, 2015, 14 Corps Headquarters said that it has no objection to the extension of inner line permit to areas beyond Panamik provided that the state set up police posts to restrict foreign tourists beyond Warshi and along the Sasoma-Saserla road.
Last year, the state government had approached the Union Home Ministry to allow tourists, both foreigners and Indians, to visit places till Yarma-Ganbi, Tayyakshi Pachathang and Thang areas in Nubra Valley, but the Centre gave approval for the domestic tourists only. As a result, the areas were opened for domestic tourists earlier this year.
Drawing attention to last year’s communication and also the Army’s approval to allow foreign tourists to visit up to Warshi, the state government has referred to repeated requests by representatives of Ladakh region for opening up the areas as they can be a good source of earnings for local population.
At present, the foreign tourists in groups of two or more persons sponsored by recognised tour operators are permitted to visit up to Tyakshi under the identified tour circuits in Ladakh region. In Nubra sub division, they are permitted to visit Leh-Khardung-La-Khalsar-Hunder-Turtuk-Pachathang Tyakshi. The other places open to them in Leh and Kargil districts are Kargil-Khangral-Shaker-Chiktan-Leh and Dafi-Garkone-Darchik-Batalik-Slimo-Kargil town.