Restricted areas of Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh region that have been out of bounds for foreigners will now be open to visitors from other countries. However, nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma will still require approval of the Union Home Ministry for it.

The Home Ministry has approved a proposal to open certain tourist circuits in Ladakh to foreign visitors, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the State Assembly in a written reply to a query on Friday. He said necessary notifications to that effect have already been issued by the State Home Department.

As per the notification, foreign tourists in groups consisting of two or more persons and sponsored by recognised tour operators may now be allowed to visit certain areas of Nobra Valley after obtaining permits from the District Magistrate of either Leh or Kargil.

Visits to these areas would be limited to a maximum duration of seven days from the date of issuance of permit. However, nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma will not be issued permits without prior approval of the Union Home Ministry. Neither will the permits be issued to foreign diplomats and members of international organisations holding diplomatic and official passports.

The areas which have been allowed to host foreign tourists now include Karu-Chang; La-Durbuk-Tangtse-Lukung-Spangmik-Man-Merak (Pangong Lake); Leh-Upshi-Chumathang-Mahe-Loma Bend (Nyoma); Leh-Khardung-La-Khalsar-hunder-Turtuk-Pachathang Tyakshi (Nubra); Kargil-Khangral-Shaker-Chiktan-Leh and Dah-Garkone-Darchik-Batalik-Slimo-Kargil (Leh-Kargil). - PTI