With deepening Iraq violence, India today decided to transfer part of welfare funds in the Indian missions in Gulf countries to its embassy in Baghdad to be used for helping Indians in the conflict-hit country where it is facilitating departure of 10,000 nationals.
This decision was taken at a meeting, which was chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, of top Indian envoys to the Gulf countries to chalk out future strategy for safety and evacuation of nationals in Iraq.
Swaraj also met the families of Indians kept captive in the region. After meeting the families, Swaraj said that she had told them the details of her communication with the Red Cressent in Iraq and also read out the written message of Indian ambassador to the family members.
“I made them read the written communication (to the government) from the ambassador. They are satisfied with the written message of the ambassador,” she said.
Briefing reporters about her meeting with the envoys, an MEA spokesperson said the focus of the meeting was to get “the assessment of the ambassadors in the region about the development” and also to get information in terms of assistance that can be provided to Indian nationals in Iraq from various other Gulf countries.
“The External Affairs Minister has now decided that certain part of the Indian Community Welfare Funds available for our missions in the Gulf will be used for assisting Indian nationals in Iraq,” the spokesperson said.
“She has already given this instruction and understand that since her instruction earlier this morning, funds have been transferred from two Indian missions to our mission in Baghdad.
“So there is adequate funding is available for our activities in mission in Baghdad to assist Indian nationals — what we called the facilitation phase of our assistance programmes there,” he said.
The minister after receiving inputs from Indian ambassadors in the region had a detailed discussions with ambassadors of Gulf countries posted here to get their understanding of the situation as well as to know that what kind of help can be provided by their countries.
Among Gulf countries, ambassadors from Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were present at the meeting.
The External Affairs Ministry said India’s “national assets” are being kept ready to evacuate the Indian nationals if an emergency situation arises.
“While at this stage, air connectivity is available. However, should it arrive, all national assets are now in readiness,” …continued »