The government on Wednesday, January 8 issued a travel advisory, asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq in view of the prevailing situation in the Gulf country as tension escalated between Iran and the United States after a missile attack on US airbases in Iraq.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday, January 8 also held meetings with concerned airlines discussing precautionary measures. The development came after Iran targetted the Al Assad airbase and another one in Erbil in Iraq that house American troops. The missile attacks also came hours after the funeral of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, whose killing in a US drone strike has intensified tensions in the region.
MEA issues travel advisory
Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, issues a statement on his Twitter handle, "In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq."
"Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," according to MEA.
DGCA meets airlines, advised remaining vigilant
Due to the flared tensions in the region, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also held a meeting with airlines and sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all necessary precautions in the airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and the waters of Persian Gulf.
"We had held meetings with the concerned airlines and have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions," the regulatory body said.
Iran attacks US forces in Iraq in retaliation for killing of Qassem Soleimani
Iran said it launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the US drone strike on an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel at about 1.30 am local time, the US military said on Tuesday. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed they fired the missiles to retaliate for last week's killing of Qassem Soleimani, according to a statement on state TV.
The statement advised the United States to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths, state TV said.