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Govt in touch with Iraq firms to get citizens back

world Updated: Jun 24, 2014 01:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
missing Indians in iraq

The external affairs ministry has been working with 12 companies in Iraq where Indians are employed in large numbers to ensure safe passage for anyone who wants to leave the country. The ministry on Monday assured that Indians in the conflict zone were safe.

“Safety and security of Indian nationals in Iraq remain to be a concern for the government of India,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

“Our initiatives are gaining impetus. We are proceeding systematically and carefully. Our information flow has improved, providing us channels to obtain, corroborate and confirm information,” he added.

Indian embassy officials were in talks with 12 major companies largely in Southern Iraq that employee Indians, some of whom want to leave but are facing procedural issues.

Read: Strategic Iraq town Tal Afar, airport fall to Sunni militants

“17 Indians have been removed from the conflict zone. We are working to ensure that rest of the Indian nationals in conflict zones are moved out of there,” said Akbaruddin.

“However, we can do so only following the norms of the host country and we will have to do that. It is normal in those areas to have issues of an employer-employee nature, these are ‘staple’ and we are working those issues out one by one systematically, in accordance with the local laws”, he explained.

Sources said government was also in constant touch with the 46 nurses who are stranded in a hospital in Tikrit, another violence-affected city which also fell to the Sunni militant group ISIS.

A total of 120 Indians were in violence-hit areas in the oil-rich Gulf nation out of which 16 have already been evacuated and one of the kidnapped has fled from captivity.