(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The overseas affairs ministry has stopped granting immigration clearances to indians travelling to iraq for one month foreign ministry spokesman said.
india announced it would stop granting its nationals permission to travel to iraq for work on friday as it stepped up efforts to secure the release of 39 indians abducted by gunmen.
“the overseas affairs ministry has stopped granting immigration clearances to indians travelling to iraq for one month” foreign ministry spokesman syed akbaruddin told reporters.
the clearance is mostly required for indians seeking employment in iraq where security forces are currently battling sunni muslim militants who have taken over large swathes of the country.
those travelling for other purposes were also advised to cancel their plans akbaruddin said.
the indian government said that all the 40 indians abducted in the violence-torn city of mosul in iraq were safe and that efforts were continuing to secure their safe and early release even as prime minister narendra modi chaired a high-level meeting here to review the entire situation.
the meeting was attended by among others home minister rajnath singh external affairs minister sushma swaraj national security adviser ajit doval and top officials including the cabinet secretary the foreign secretary the heads of indian intelligence and security agencies and officials of the ministry of extern affairs. mea spokesperson syed akbaruddin told newspersons at his daily briefing on the crisis that the meeting reviewed all dimensions of the situation and took into account all facts and information pieced together from a variety of sources.
“i can now indicate that the indian nationals held in captivity remain safe” he said adding that the government was making every effort to resolve the crisis at the earliest. he confirmed that one of the indians held in mosul had managed to escape and had been in touch with the embassy of india in baghdad for some time without giving any details.
he also said that eight indians working in baiji who had managed to reach baghdad and another eight working for lanco an indian company at anbar had left iraq on friday.
he said the fact that modi himself chaired a meeting to review the situation indicated the seriousness with which the government was approaching the crisis.
akbaruddin said that swaraj had on friday morning chaired a meeting within the mea to review the situation.
among other things the meeting decided that any indian who wished to return from iraq and was unable to pay for his or her air fare would be assisted from the indian community welfare fund in iraq.
(with afp input)
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