Govt mulls all options in Iraq

The conflict in Iraq came up for discussion at a meeting of senior officials, including the Cabinet Secretary and the services chiefs, here on Friday in which the government is understood to have discussed the options for ensuring safety of Indians stranded in that country.

The meeting was chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and attended by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan along with officials of the other ministries dealing with the issue, sources said.

It is understood that the option of evacuating the Indians stranded in the strife-torn parts of Iraq also came up at the meeting.

Sources said IAF aircraft may be used for the task if any decision in this regard is taken by the government.

Asked if IAF was putting its aircraft on standby for evacuating Indians from Iraq, IAF spokesperson Group Captain Gerard Galway said, “IAF is always on standby and if tasked, we can carry-out this assignment also.”

IAF has big heavylift aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III and the C-130J Super Hercules which can be tasked for evacuation.

India has so far evacuated around 36 of its citizens from Iraq who had expressed willingness to return to India.

Around 10,000 Indians are staying in different parts of Iraq but not all of them are facing problems.

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