India cautions against travel to violence- torn country.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin ( in photo) tweeted: "Indian nationals in Iraq may consider leaving the country by commercial means." The government also set up a 24- hour helpline to offer assistance to Indians living in Iraq.
A statement from the foreign ministry said: "In view of the precarious security situation prevailing in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all travel to Iraq until further notification." It said Indians in Iraq should leave the country by commercial means "if it is safe to do so". Indians living in the affected areas were "advised to stay indoors as far as possible" and to remain in contact with the Indian Embassy in Baghdad for advice and information.
"Those nationals without travel documents or needing other consular services should seek help from the Indian Embassy," the statement also said.
The phone numbers for the helpline are + 964 770 444 4899, + 964 770 444 4899 ( mobile), + 964 770 484 3247 and + 964 770 484 3247 ( mobile).
India had banned travel to Iraq for work or studies in 2004, but the curb was lifted in 2010. At the time, unofficial estimates put the number of Indians in Iraq at about 80,000.
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