India has evacuated 17 more Indians from conflict-hit Iraq with the help of Iraqi government. As a result, a total of 34 Indians stand rescued till date ever since militants – Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – has started capturing towns there by waging a war against the establishment there.
The External Affairs Ministry today also issued a fresh travel advisory today asking Indians to remain indoors if they are in conflict-prone areas of Iraq.
“The safety of Indians in Iraq remains the matter of importance for the country. We have, with the help of local authorities, evacuated 17 more Indian nationals from the conflict zone of Iraq and they are now in Baghdad,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here today.
He, however, did not specify any other details about these 17 Indians who are on way India and are currently in Baghdad.
On the other hand, the 40 Indian nationals who were kidnapped by the Sunni militant group, still remain captivated “but have not been harmed,” he added.
Condition of the Indian nurses continue to remain the same and they are in constant touch with the MEA while food and shelter are being provided to them by the Indian embassy with the help of local authorities.
“Due to the uncertain and difficult security environment, Indian nationals in Iraq are again advised to remain indoors if they are in conflict-prone areas, and to leave the country on voluntary basis by commercial means, in areas where it is safe to do so.
“Indian nationals are advised to refrain from undertaking travel to Iraq until further notice. Airports in the cities of Erbil, Baghdad, Basra and Najaf are reported to be operational at present.”
The Spokesperson also said the Indian Embassy in Baghdad will shortly open camp offices in Najaf, Karbala and Basra for the convenience of Indians nationals in Iraq.
Meanwhile, defence minister Arun Jaitley today said there are no plans yet to send Indian troops for evacuation.
“I am not going to speculate at the moment,” he said when asked if the armed forces would be deployed to evacuate Indian nationals stranded there.
A total of 120 Indians were in violence-hit areas in the oil-rich Gulf nation, out of whom 16 have already been evacuated and one of those kidnapped has fled from captivity.
Now, 103 Indians remain in the conflict zone including 47 nurses and 39 Indians in captivity.
(With agency inputs)