2,200 Indians to be evacuated from strife-ridden Iraq soon
NEW DELHI: About
2,200 Indians in the non-conflict zone of southern Iraq have expressed their
desire to leave that country and they will be in India in the next 36 to 48
hours even as 200 others reached here early on Sunday morning.
As the momentum of
evacuation picked up, the facilitation process of transporting Indian nationals
from Iraq is focused on the non-conflict zone in southern Iraq, External
Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters Sunday.
Four mobile teams
of six persons each have been placed in Najaf, Karbala and Basra apart from Baghdad,
which have collected details of those who would like to leave for home.
“Our advice to them
is to leave. However, if they are facing problems or are staying back because
of tickets, Government of India is ready to provide them. We are also ready to
provide assistance in terms of contractual problems. Based on that our
assessment is 2,200 Indian nationals have in some form or other expressed their
desire to leave Iraq,” he said.
Akbaruddin said 600 have been provided tickets by the Government through the
facilitation process of the Baghdad mission. 600 have been paid by their companies.
Another 1,600 were
being provided tickets by Government for their return, he said adding that
since developments in the last 48 hours, the government has calibrated its
approach and the momentum of bringing back people has picked up.
people were brought and this morning an Iraqi Airways special flight brought
200 people to Delhi. In addition, Iraqi Airways is also flying normal flights
from Baghdad. In the next 36 to 48 hours, two other special flights from Najaf
and Basra will bring 200 and 280 people respectively to Delhi.
In addition, a
group of 117 passengers will arrive early tomorrow morning in Delhi by a
commercial flight that will be diverted to Najaf to pick them up.
Akbaruddin said the
Indian mission was processing documents for facilitating the exit of 200 plus
people. In the next 48 hours, all the 1,600 people who have expressed their
desire to come back on tickets paid by Government would have been transported.
Most of the 600
people, whose tickets have been paid for by the government, were already back
in the country. They are from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai.
The spokesman said
that there were ten commercial flights available from Baghdad to various points
in the gulf and the government was using all seats that were available on these
flights. In addition, the government was commissioning special flights of Iraqi
Airways from other areas.
“With that we will
be able to complete the process of bringing back all those who wanted to come
back. We are also doing due diligence,” he said.
Referring to the
easing of the situation, Akbaruddin said that approximately 480 calls were
received in control rooms in Delhi and Baghdad. He said it was a judgement of
the individuals whether they want to come back.
Now the calls have
come down from 60 to 80 calls to 4 to 6 calls a day reflecting the considerable
lowering of levels of anxiety and concern. On the problem of Indians in the
conflict zone, he said he would not like to go into it now, though even one
life is valuable to the government.