Going to India? Here are some things you need to know. Source: Shutterstock

ACCORDING to a new Expat Insider survey released by InterNations, a leading network for guidance to expats around the world, India has been ranked the most dangerous country for foreigners in Asia.

The South Asian country is fifth from the bottom in terms of safety and security among 64 countries across the world. The ranking was revealed by the World Index, an organization working to rank countries on the basis of indicators like art, literature, culture, sports, technology and military affairs.

The survey found that over four in 10 respondents (44 percent) reported negative feelings about the peacefulness in the country (globally: only 10 percent) and 27 percent are displeased with their personal safety — three times the global average of nine percent.

There have also been reports of tourists being raped in different parts of India in the past year. An American expat, for example, does not like “always having to keep my guard up — as a female, I don’t feel safe. As a resident, I often feel taken advantage of, at work and outside work.”

In June 2018, a Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) poll in revealed India was dangerous for women, more so than Afganistan, Syria, Somalia, and Saudi Arabi.

Additionally, almost double the global average (32 percent vs. 17 percent worldwide) rate the political stability of the country negatively. An Australian expat shares that “politics has become hardline, and there are social tensions”.

Placing 60th out of 64 countries, India does not rank well for health and wellbeing either.

“This can mainly be attributed to the quality of the environment, which is rated negatively by more than eight in 10 expats (83 percent vs. only 20 percent globally) — a staggering 44 percent even say it is very bad (vs. four percent globally),” the survey said.

Adapting to local culture also seems to be an obstacle for expats settling in India.

The country places second to last (63rd) in the Feeling at Home subcategory: over four in 10 expats (41 percent) struggle with feeling at home in the local culture (vs. 23 percent worldwide). Also, close to half (48 percent) claim that it isn’t easy to get used to the local culture — more than double the global average of 20 percent.

“The cultural norms are very different, and I have struggled to adapt,” an American expat revealed.

Source: Shutterstock

So what can you, as a foreigner, do to stay safe in India? First of all, learn to say no (it is nahi, pronounced as “na-hee!”). If you sense that someone is harassing you or being overly intrusive, just walk away and do not bother with politeness.

If possible, stay in hotels with tight security, especially those which offer a personal taxi service.  Stick to touristy spots or organized excursions, or curate your own tour with a trusted booking agent.

However, keep things in perspective and try not to get too friendly with tour guides, taxi, and rickshaw drivers or hotel staff.

Try to do as many sightseeing activities during the day and retire to your accommodation when it gets dark. By all means, chat with locals, ask to take photos and enjoy their culture, but do not go off with strangers.

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