Indians’ safety in Iraq: Govt monitoring situation on regular basis

Indian govt on close watch about the safety of Indians in Iraq. Situation being "monitored" by Ministry of External Affairs

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: June 18, 2014 9:45:53 am
Shiite tribal fighters deployed armed in the northwest Baghdad's Shula neighborhood, Iraq (Source: AP) Shiite tribal fighters deployed armed in the northwest Baghdad’s Shula neighborhood, Iraq (Source: AP)

Concerned over safety of Indians in Iraq, government today said it was monitoring the situation on a regular basis and was exploring possibility of ground-level cooperation with Iraqi authorities to assist its citizens stranded in violence-hit cities of Mosul and Tikrit.

“We shall be monitoring the situation on an hourly basis,” the Spokesman in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has herself been monitoring and reviewing the situation on a regular basis.

“In accordance with her instructions, the Indian Embassy in Baghdad is providing us updated reports on their contacts with the Indian nationals in the affected areas,” he said.

The Indian mission in Baghdad was in touch with the Iraqi government and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to ensure the safety of all Indians stranded in the violence-affected areas of that country, sources said.

Secretary East in the MEA Anil Wadhwa has met the Iraqi Ambassador in India Ahmad Tahsin Ahmad Berwari who apprised him of the situation.

Also Read: Iraq turmoil to push inflation, India expresses concern over safety of citizens in violence-hit region

Both Wadhwa and Berwari discussed the possibilities of ground-level cooperation in assisting Indian nationals who are in the affected area.

Around 46 nurses are stranded in Tikrit, besides nearly 40 other Indians in Mosul.

The Spokesperson said Swaraj had asked Wadhwa, who is in-charge of the Gulf region, to hold a “crisis management meeting” today to review all aspects of the assistance that can be provided to the Indian nationals there.

In response to a request by the Indian government, a team of International Red Crescent contacted the nurses in Tikrit and reported back to the Indian authorities that they were well, the sources said.

The Indian Embassy in Baghdad has already set up a a 24- hour helpline to offer assistance to Indian nationals there. Over 10,000 Indians are estimated to be currently living in Iraq.

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