India on Wednesday asked its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq, amid rising tension between Iran and the US after a drone strike by the American military killed their top commander General Qasem Soleimani last week. "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. Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
No-fly zone amid Iran-US tension creates massive travel anxiety
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) advised all Indian carriers to avoid the airspace of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf following tension in the region. "We had held meetings with the concerned Airlines and have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions," said a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday morning.
US aviation regulator FAA has also asked all US airlines to stop operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to "events in Middle East".
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines in a statement said, "In view of the latest developments in the region, all our flights in and out of Europe will not be flying over the Iranian airspace. We will continue to monitor the situation closely."
In a revenge for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran early Wednesday fired multiple missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) has claimed the attacks on Ayn al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq and the military base in the northern city of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where American military personnel is currently deployed. Any reports of injuries or casualties in the missile attack were yet not available.
Confirming the attacks, the Pentagon has said US President Donald Trump is closely monitoring the situation. According to Iranian state TV, more than 35 rockets were launched only at the Ayn al-Asad.
The travel advisory and directions amid an escalated war-like situation have forced many travel operators under immense pressure across the globe. Gold prices rose $1,600 an ounce in wake of rocket attacks at US bases in Iraq this morning. A Bloomberg report said, "Safe-haven assets, U.S. equity futures and Asian stocks swung wildly Wednesday as tensions in the Middle East escalated, rattling global financial markets."
British military on stand by amid US-Iran tension
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that the British military was on standby to deploy to Gulf 'within 48 hours'.
"British warships, helicopters and several hundred military personnel have been put on standby of 48 hours or less for deployment in or near Iraq, ready to respond as the Iran crisis escalates," The Guardian reported.
“If British civilians were killed or even military personnel as a result of Iranian or terrorist action, we would look at the response. The response would no doubt be proportionate,” Ben Wallace was quoted by the paper, as parliament returned from the Christmas break.