ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Indian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday issued a revised travel advisory for Iraq, stating that Indian nationals can now visit Iraq except for five provinces which remain affected by terrorism and violence.
Following the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014, thousands of Indians evacuated the country. On June 15, 2014, the Indian government issued a travel advisory asking its citizens to leave the country and avoid all travel to Iraq.
The first travel advisory came after the Islamic State kidnapped 39 Indians that same year. New Delhi only confirmed their deaths in 2018.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry of India revised the advisory for its nationals who wish to travel to Iraq.
“With [an] improvement in security situation in Iraq, Indian nationals may now consider traveling to the country except to the five provinces of Iraq, namely Nineveh (Capital Mosul); Salahuddin (Capital Tikrit); Diyala (Capital Baquba); Anbar (Capital Ramadi), and Kirkuk,” the statement read.
It advised Indian nationals not to travel to the five provinces in Iraq as they “remain affected by terrorism and violence.”
“Indian nationals wishing to travel for employment to the safe areas other than those listed above as unsafe areas must register on E-Migrate portal of the Government of India and inform the Embassy of India in Baghdad or Consulate General of India in Erbil prior to traveling to Iraq,” the statement added.
Unofficial statistics indicate that there are about 10,000 to 12,000 Indians who currently live in Iraq, mostly concentrated in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Basra, Najaf, and Karbala. Around 30,000 to 40,000 Indians visit Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf, and Samarrah for pilgrimage annually.
Although Iraq declared victory against the Islamic State in December 2017, the extremist group continues to carry out insurgency attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings in the country.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany