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India’s diplomatic outreach opened several shut doors

Even as Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth held a meeting on June 25 in Delhi, directing Air India, the Navy and the Shipping Secretary to keep vessels on standby in case a mass evacuation of Indians from violence-torn Iraq was required, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Intelligence Bureau Director Asif Ibrahim were busy steering a secret diplomatic outreach, TheHindu has learnt.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, just back from Dhaka, spoke to Foreign Ministers of all the Gulf States, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, and met their envoys here to enlist their support as well.

The MEA spokesperson, who declined to comment on TheHindu story, however told reporters that “India is knocking on every door, front door, back door and trap door.” It would seem, after a slow initial response to the ISIS crisis in Iraq, India’s personal diplomatic reachout right on the ground by the NSA, Intelligence chief and External Affairs Minister, along with traditional goodwill for the country helped open several shut doors.

The nurses are now safe and back home, and Iraqi airways has been running special flights to Delhi bringing in about 600 Indians so far, and officials said at least 1,500 more have signed up to fly out of Iraq.

However, there remain concerns over the 39 missing men working on a construction project in Mosul, and officials admitted to TheHindu that the task of bringing them out to safety is much more complicated than that of the nurses, given that they have been out of contact for much longer, in a constantly changing conflict zone.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 10:35:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-diplomatic-outreach-opened-several-shut-doors/article6187358.ece

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