Nearly 600 more Indian nationals will return home from the conflict-hit Iraq over the next two days, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Saturday. It said 200 of them will return by an Iraqi Airways special chartered flight from Najaf to Delhi late Saturday night itself.
“The return of Indians from Iraq has gathered pace,” said MEA’s official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. He said that apart from the 200 Indian nationals returning to Delhi Saturday night, another 400 would return to various destinations in India, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, through commercial flights by Monday. “It is estimated that about 1,200 would have returned to India at government cost by Monday,” the spokesperson said.
In addition, the Indian mission in Baghdad has been able to persuade Iraqi companies to send back approximately 600 other Indian nationals.
“Our mission in Baghdad is also separately processing papers of approximately 400 other people who are in some major companies. Once these are processed, the total number of Indians who would have returned to India in the last fortnight would be about 2,200,” he said. “The number of others who have evinced interest in returning after this is very few.”
There were about 10,000 Indians before the start of the fight between government troops and Sunni militant group ISIS. With MEA facilitating the departures, it is estimated that there are about 7,500 Indians in the non-conflict zones left.