NEW DELHI: Foreigners planning a holiday in the scenic Andaman & Nicobar Islands will now no longer need a restricted area permit (RAP) to visit 29 inhabited islands of the Union territory. The Modi government has decided to exclude the said islands from the RAP regime, subject to certain conditions, to boost tourism and overall development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Among the de-notified islands are Havelock Island, Neil Island, Little Andaman, Baratang Island and Katchal Island.
RAP regime was notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963 till 31.12.2022. A communication lifting RAP for the 29 islands has been sent to the chief secretary, A&N administration, TOI has learnt.
The list of the islands permitted for foreigners visit includes East Island, North Andaman, Smith Island, Curfew Island, Stewart Island, Land Fall Island, Ayes Island, Middle Andaman, Long Island, Strait Island, North Passage, Baratang, South Andaman, Havelock, Neil Island, Flat Bay, North Sentinel Island, Little Andaman, Chowra, Tillang Chong Island, Teressa, Katchal, Nancowry, Kamorta, Pulomilo, Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, Narcondam Island and Interview Island.
Foreigners will also be allowed to visit 11 uninhabited Islands, to be notified by Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration, only for day visits.
Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals having their origin in these countries would continue to require RAP to visit Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In such cases, RAP may be granted only after obtaining prior approval of the ministry of home affairs.
For visiting Mayabunder and Diglipur, citizens of Myanmar will continue to require RAP which shall be issued only with the prior approval of the MHA.
In order to ensure preservation of natural and marine resources (including marine parks and environment) of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands without affecting tourism and business at large, it should be ensured by the A&N Islands Administration that the guidelines issued by the ministry of environment and forests from time to time are strictly adhered to.
Separate approvals of the competent authority would continue to be required for visiting Reserved forests, wildlife sanctuaries and tribal reserves, as is the case at present.