PM chairs a high level review meeting on safety of Indians in Iraq

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

Based on the detailed review it has been confirmed that the Indian Nationals who have been abducted in Iraq remain safe.

The issue of safety of Indian nationals continues to be a matter of high priority for government of India. The Prime Minister chaired a high level meeting of Senior Ministers which included Home minister, the External Affairs Minister, National Security Advisor, the Heads of Indian Intelligence Agencies and security agencies, along with senior officials of Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Overseas Affairs. The Review Meeting was held to review the entire dimensions of the issue safety of Indian nationals in Iraq taking into consideration all facts that we now have available with us as well as piecing together the information that is coming to us from various access points from multiplicity of sources. 

Based on the detailed review it has been confirmed that the Indian Nationals who have been abducted in Iraq remain safe. The Govt. of India is making every effort for the situation that the Indians are caught there in Iraq, so that is resolved at the earliest. Indian Mission in Baghdad continues to assist those Indian nationals who would like to leave the region, even from areas where security is not tenuous as yet, and we keep in touch with Indian nationals in areas where security remains tenuous. The Government of India is giving the highest priority to the welfare, security and safety of Indian nationals. Following the review meetings that are being held everyday and today it has decided that any Indian National who is indigent and who desires to return but is unable to pay for his tickets, will be assisted through the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) in Iraq by our mission there. 

The Ministry of Overseas Indian affairs has decided to stop granting emigration clearances for Iraq for a period of one month or till the situation demands starting last night. This was done noticing that the flow of traffic was continuing even though there was an advisory already issued in this regard not to travel to Iraq. 

Indian officials are working with Iraqi authorities that have a visa regime which basically specifies that who comes in from a port of entry also go back from the same port of entry, this has caused some concern to those of our nationals who want to leave from the nearest port of exit or from land boundary, the matter has been taken up with Iraqi foreign ministry officials who are amenable and the issue is likely to be sorted out in coming days. All the Indian missions in the region of all the bordering countries have been informed that in case Indian people need any assistance in the matter like documentations, if they want to cross by land through these countries may be assisted fully. 

From the verified information available with the External Affairs Ministry from the conflict zone in Iraq, 16 Indian national have been moved out and brought to Baghdad for flying out of Iraq. Eight workers were moved out from Baiji, Iraq and another 8 Indian workers of LANCO project in Anbar. As far as the 46 Nurses caught in the conflict zone, we are in constant touch with them and the security situation in the area is such that it has been said to be quiet with no gunfire and nobody has intruded in the Hospital they are in. They have access to facilities like Power, water, food, communication etc. in the hospital. 
 

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