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Indian warships on standby for evacuation

New Delhi, June 28 (IANS): As a contingency measure for evacuating Indians trapped in Iraq, an Indian warship has been deployed in the Persian Gulf and kept on standby, defence ministry sources said.

INS Mysore, a Delhi-class guided-missile destroyer, reached the Persian Gulf Saturday.

The defence ministry is however tight lipped over its plan for rescuing the Indians trapped in the conflict zone of Iraq, where Sunni militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have overrun Mosul and Tikrit, the hometown of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and have now closed in on capital Baghdad.

According to external affairs ministry, there are 100 Indians trapped in the conflict zone, along with 46 Indian nurses in Tikrit.

Overall, there are nearly 10,000 Indians in Iraq as per official figures. However, with many Indians being there without legal documents, the actual numbers run much higher.

The ship has been instructed to wait till further orders.

The air force has also kept heavylift transport aircraft C17 and recently acquired C-130J Super Hercules on standby for any short notice evacuation operation.

INS Tarkash, a Talwar-class frigate, which has been involved in anti-piracy operations lately, is already there in Gulf of Aden, and also on standby.