As the security environment continued to be volatile in the conflict zone in Iraq, India has advised its nationals to stay indoors.
The government also issued an advisory to Indians outside the conflict zone who wished to leave Iraq to take commercial flights out of the airports in Erbil, Baghdad, Najaf and Basra.
“Since there are a significant number of Indian residents in southern cities of Iraq, we have decided to set up camp offices of the Indian embassy in Najaf, Karbala and Basra. They will provide assistance of any form to all Indian nationals,” the spokesperson said.
A joint committee of Indian and Iraqi officials to assist Indians in Baghdad was also being set up. “In consultation with the Iraqi authorities, we are setting up a joint committee which will handle issues relating to Indians who have problems with their immigration status.” Our side [of the committee] will have officials from the Indian embassy [while] on the Iraqi side, it will have officials from the Home and Interior Ministries relating to immigration,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
The government has opened round-the-clock helpline numbers in Baghdad to assist Indian nationals desirous of returning. The numbers are 009647704444899 and 009647704843247.
Mr. Akbaruddin said 39 Indians held captive near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul “remained in captivity but are not harmed.”