India gets into pro- active mode over Iraq crisis
New Delhi: Amidst allegations that India’s efforts to rescue its trapped citizens in Iraq were proving futile, the government on Saturday got into a pro- active mode. After a national crisis management committee meeting on late Friday, it was decided to send a team of officials from the ministry of external affairs to facilitate return of 10,000 Indian in non- conflicting zones, besides dispatching a warship INS Mysore to the Persian Gulf, near the conflict zone, in an attempt to raise stakes in the region and facilitate release its 39 hostages held by the Sunni fighters.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has also summoned top Indian envoys in Gulf countries for consultations here on Sunday.
In a ‘ pro- active’ move, the MEA dispatched seven officers to hold camps in Najf, Karbala and Basra in southern Iraq to facilitate return of Indian citizens. Though officials estimate 10,000 Indian workers in this region, there is possibility of a large number of illegal immi- grants as well taking the unofficial account to around 25,000 to 30,000. The officials will provide these people travel documents, negotiate with their employers to annual their contracts and provide free air tickets, in case they cannot afford them. In next few days, another batch of officials will also be dispatched who will roam around and help distressed Indian on call.
MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the 39 Indians who were kidnapped remained in captivity and unharmed, adding there were some leads available about them. He said the mission was also in touch with 46 nurses in Tikrit and denied the reports that there was any explosion in the compound they were in.
About the number of Indians in the conflict zone, the spokesperson said it would not be possible to give the exact number but it should be around 100. He said that the government was knocking three doors, front doors, back doors and trap doors. Analysts here decipher it as using diplomacy, seeking help of foreign and friendly nations and also keeping powder dry for any covert operation.