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India relaxes travel to Iraq with exception of five provinces

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 05, 2019, 09.50 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India has relaxed travel to Iraq with improvement in the security situation in the West Asian country. New Delhi has said that "Indian nationals may now consider travelling to the country" with the exception of five provinces of Iraq - Nineveh (capital Mosul); Salahuddin (capital Tikrit); Diyala (capital Baquba); Anbar (capital Ramadi) and Kirkuk. The relaxation comes into effect immediately. 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a release noted, "Indian nationals are advised not to travel" to the five Provinces of Iraq as "these remain affected by terrorism and violence".

MEA also urged Indian nationals, who plan to travel to Iraq for employment, to register on E-Migrate portal of the Government of India and inform the Indian embassy in Baghdad or the Indian Consulate General in Erbil.

When the Islamic State (IS) took over large parts of Iraq in 2014, India evacuated thousands of Indian nationals from the country. 39 Indians were kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq that year. They were confirmed dead by India in 2018.

On June 15, 2014, India issued a travel advisory asking its citizens to leave the country and avoid all travel to the country.

Around 10,000-12,000 Indias are in Iraq at present, most of them in the Kurdistan region, Basra, Najaf and Karbala. About 30,000-40,000 Indians visit Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf and Samarrah for pilgrimage every year.

Story highlights

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a release noted, 'Indian nationals are advised not to travel' to the five Provinces of Iraq as 'these remain affected by terrorism and violence'.