India asks citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq

Our Bureau/PTI Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2020

In light of the turmoil in Iraq, India has issued a travel advisory to avoid "non-essential" travel to that country.

"In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq," as a precautionary measure, the Ministry of External Affairs has issued a travel advisory. "Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification," the Ministry said. The travel advisory also advised Indian nationals residing in Iraq "to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq".

It further added that the Indian Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulate in Erbil would function normally, and provide all services to Indians in Iraq.

The US had confirmed that Iran had launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two US military bases in Iraq. The attack was in response to the killing of top Iranian military official General Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike. The attack was ordered by US President Donald Trump, on Friday. President Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the situation, officials said.

Remain vigilant: DGCA tells airlines

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked Indian airline companies to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of Persian Gulf, hours after a Ukrainian International airlines carrying 180 passengers crashed near Tehran in Iran.

“We had held meetings with the concerned Airlines and have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions,” a senior official of the DGCA said.

US aviation regulator FAA has also asked all US airlines to stop operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to the events in West Asia.

Also read: US prohibits flights over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf

What this essentially means is that the airlines  which usually overfly the Iranian airspace will take a longer duration to reach its destination.

Published on January 08, 2020

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