An Indian naval warship reached the Persian Gulf on Saturday as part of New Delhi's contingency plans for a possible evacuation of Indians stranded in Iraq.
The navy has deployed INS Mysore, a 6,900-tonne guided missile destroyer, in the Persian Gulf to cut down on reaction time if orders for evacuation are given.
A navy source said there was no official word on a possible evacuation but the warship had been put on standby. "We have assets deployed in the western Arabian Sea and these could be used to bring back Indian nationals if required," he added.
INS Mysore was among the warships involved in evacuating Indian nationals from Libya more than three years ago.
The navy has been carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the international waters off the Gulf of Aden since October 23, 2008 to protect Indian sea-borne trade and instill confidence in the seafaring community. Currently, a Talwar-class frigate is deployed there and it could also be used for evacuation if there's an emergency.
The navy had evacuated more than 2,500 Indians and foreign nationals from Lebanon in July 2006 following the war between Israel and the Hezbollah.