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  • Writer's pictureKirk

My Encounter with the Indian Military

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

I mentioned in an earlier post regarding traveling to a remote area of India, Arunanchel Pradesh. It's one of, I believe, only two provinces in India where a second visa is required to enter due to terrorist activities. A second in the sense the first visa allows entry into the country and the second to this province.

The area is subject to mostly tribal rule. The police is not very noticeable here. I think of these kind of areas like Israel was under Roman rule. Even though Rome had dominion of the country, the Roman rulers allowed the religious leaders of the area to excercise their authority, as long as it did no harm to Rome. It's easier that way.

That's how I viewed it here. Although tribal rule was law, do no harm to India. However, the terrorism in this area is typically targeted at the government. Thus, the only real Indian authority I saw excercised here was from the military.

I was a stranger in this strange area. As a westerner I definitely stood out. Very rare to see a man of my lighter color. And the military took notice when they saw me.

India Military by a farmer.

I did not see the military in the area often, but on one of the occasions they took notice of me. They actually approached me and wanted to see my papers. Luckily on this trip I had them in order.

As I mentioned on a previous post, on one occasion I "smuggled" myself into the area without this special visa. So I was happy I had all my papers this time.

After reviewing my documents (passport, India visa, and provincial visa), they began to interrogate me regarding my reason for being there. Only one of the two men spoke English to any degree so he was the interrogator.

I explained I was a cultural traveler to the area and I was there to help in a small way if I could. He was certainly intrigued by my response and at first somewhat suspicious. But as we talked more he became convinced. In the end he was quite friendly to me.

He even posed for this selfie. Not much of a smile though, do you think?

This area of the world is unique. I admit my first time to this area I was quite frightened. At night, if I heard any vehicle nearby (there's not much vehicle traffic here, especially at night) I was convinced it was a terrorist who heard I was there and would kidnap me. I didn't sleep much the first few nights.

But I quickly adapted to the area and I felt quite comfortable. In retrospect, probably the biggest danger in the area was disease as Japanese Encephalitis was dominant here as well as many other diseases. But I spoke to that in another post.

I don't believe I'll return to the area again as there's much more to explore in the world. But I'm thankful for the experience.

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