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China, India and Indonesia -- safety first, please
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 04:10

Many Australian economic and political commentators have been pushing Australian business to explore more business opportunities in Indonesia and India.  The argument is that Australia has been putting too many eggs in the China basket, and needs to diversify.

Good recommendation, yes!  But ...

it is also relevant that Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) considers both Indonesia and India to be dangerous travel destinations, whereas only normal safety precautions are recommended for communist China!

Read this:

DFTA advises Australians to "reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack".  This puts Indonesia in DFAT's category 3 along with countries like Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia and Haiti, one category above the bottom group which includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Somalia.

DFAT continues that "If you do decide to travel to Indonesia, you should exercise great care, particularly around locations that have a low level of protective security and avoid places known to be possible terrorist targets ... We continue to receive information which indicates that terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia, which could take place at any time ..."

"Since early 2010, police have disrupted a number of terrorist groups in North Sumatra, Lampung, Banten, Jakarta and Central Java. Police continue to conduct operations against these groups. Police have stated publicly that terrorist suspects remain at large and that they may seek to attack Western targets."

In short, Indonesia is not a very safe place in which to do business!

India is assessed to be a little bit safer.  DFTA advises Australians "to exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the high risk of terrorist activity by militant groups".  This puts India in category 2 along with Angola, Burma, Columbia and North Korea!

DFTA advices us to "pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in India with little or no warning ... Possible targets include public places in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities, areas frequented by tourists ..."

"Major secular and religious holidays could provide terrorist groups an opportunity or pretext to stage an attack ... a number of terrorist attacks in India have resulted in significant casualties ... Violent protests and demonstrations occur frequently throughout India ... Due to the risk of harassment and assault, women travelling alone should take particular care in all parts of India ..."

"Due to frequent accidents, you should exercise particular caution when travelling on buses, trains, cars and motorcycles in all parts of India ... There is a high incidence of food-borne, water-borne and other infectious diseases in India." And so it goes on.

While India may be a little bit safer than Indonesia, it is still a pretty risky place in which to do business.

What about China?  This communist state is ranked in the safest category, along with most developed countries.  DFAT merely advises that one "exercise normal safety precautions in China ... and pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security threats."

Naturally, DFTA advises one "to exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to Tibet Autonomous Region ... (or) to Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region".

But apart from that, China seems to be even safer than a country like France where "There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attack" and where one should protect one's "personal belongings at all times, especially your passport" as "Petty crime, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, is a serious problem in tourist areas and on public transport."

All things considered, Australian businessmen may be wise to follow this advice by concentrating their business on China, rather than diversifying out to Indonesia and India!


Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.



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