Don’t travel to Israel, Iran, says India in travel advisory as tensions spike | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Don’t travel to Israel, Iran, says India in travel advisory as tensions spike

Apr 12, 2024 07:08 PM IST

The new advisory means Indian workers would not be able to travel to Israel under a government-to-government arrangement to work in the construction sector

NEW DELHI: India on Friday issued an advisory urging citizens not to travel to Iran or Israel following a sharp rise in tensions between the two sides and asked all Indian nationals living in the two countries to observe “utmost precautions” for their safety.

A woman looks at memorabilia and pictures of the hostages kidnapped in the deadly October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza, at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv on April 11 (REUTERS)
A woman looks at memorabilia and pictures of the hostages kidnapped in the deadly October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza, at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv on April 11 (REUTERS)

The advisory was issued against the backdrop of a growing number of reports about an Iranian attack on Israel or Israeli interests in retaliation for the Israeli air strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria that killed seven people, including three generals.

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“In view of the prevailing situation in the region, all Indians are advised not to travel to Iran or Israel till further notice,” said the advisory issued by the external affairs ministry.

“All those who are currently residing in Iran or Israel are requested to get in touch with Indian Embassies there and register themselves. They are also requested to observe utmost precautions about their safety and restrict their movements to the minimum,” the advisory said.

There are about 18,000 Indian nationals in Israel, a majority of them care-givers and professionals in sectors such as information technology. Iran is home to some 4,000 Indian nationals, including petty traders and academics.

People familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that the advisory meant more Indian workers would not be able to travel to Israel under a government-to-government (G2G) arrangement to work in the construction sector.

The first batch of 64 Indian workers travelled to Israel on April 2 and 6,000 more were expected to be sent during April and May to help Israel’s construction sector overcome a labour shortage created by the withdrawal of work permits for Palestinian workers.

Israeli authorities also planned to operate an “air shuttle” for bringing in the Indian workers after the Prime Minister’s Office, finance ministry and construction ministry decided to subsidise charter flights.

Another 900 Indian construction workers travelled to Israel in recent months under business-to-business arrangements. Last week, India asked Israeli authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of Indian nationals being sent to work in the construction sector.

The people said Indian authorities are working on various contingencies, including the possible evacuation of Indian nationals from Iran and Israel.

Last week, India expressed concern at the Israeli air strike on a building in the Iranian embassy complex in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven people, including Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who oversaw operations in Syria and Lebanon.

“India is distressed at the escalating tensions in West Asia, and their potential to fuel further violence and instability. We urge all parties to avoid actions that go against commonly accepted principles and norms of international law,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on April 4.

Iran has pledged a “decisive” response to the Israeli strike, with foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian describing the attack “as a violation of all international obligations and conventions”. The anticipated Iranian retaliation has raised fears of an all-out regional war in West Asia, which is home to some nine million Indian expatriates.

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