New Delhi: Hours after Iran attacked two US military base in Iraq, the ministry of external affairs sounded a warning to all Indians planning to travel to either Iraq or Iran. “In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. “Our Embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq.”
All Indian carriers have been asked to avoid the airspace of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf in the wake of the tension. “We had held meetings with the Airlines concerned and have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions,” Director General of Civil Aviation said. Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet all use these air routes. They will have to reroute which may escalate costs. This is not the first time that DGCA has asked flights to avoid this route. In 2019, after Iran had shot a US military drone, the airspace was shunned by most countries.
Iran launched multiple rockets at US’s Al Asad airbase in Iraq early on Wednesday in an operation called ‘Martya Soleimani’ codenamed as ‘Oh Zahra’. The attack comes days after Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was assassinated in US airstrikes near Baghdad airport, which resulted in an escalation of the tension between the US and Iran. US President Donald Trump visited the Al Asad airbase in 2018.