India has evacuated 17 more Indians from conflict-hit Iraq with the help of the government there. A total of 34 Indians stand rescued since the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) began a war there against the establishment.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) issued a fresh travel advisory on Tuesday, asking Indians to remain indoors if in conflict-prone areas of Iraq.
MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the 17 rescued were in Baghdad and are on their way to India. And, the 40 Indian nationals abducted by the Sunni militant group remain in captivity “but have not been harmed,” he added.
The condition of Indian nurses there remains the same and they are in constant touch with the MEA, with food and shelter 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 a voluntary basis by commercial means, in areas where it is safe to do so,” said Akbaruddin.
“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,” he said.
The spokesperson said the Indian embassy would shortly open camp offices in Najaf, Karbala and Basra.
“I am not going to speculate,” replied Defence Minister Arun Jaitley when asked if the armed forces would be deployed to evacuate stranded nationals.
A total of 120 Indians were in violence-hit areas in the oil-rich Gulf nation. Now, 103 Indians remain in the conflict zone, including 47 nurses and 40 in captivity.
(With agency inputs)