Do Not Travel to Israel and Iran, MEA Says in Urgent Travel Advisory

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The external affairs ministry issued the notice “in view of the prevailing situation in the region”. Israel had attacked the Iranian consulate in Damascus which killed a top commander, following which Iran had vowed to conduct a revenge attack.

The Indian government has also asked “all those who are who are currently residing in Iran or Israel are requested to get in touch with Indian Embassies there and register themselves”.

“They are also requested to observe utmost precautions about their safety and restrict their movements to the minimum,” said the advisory.

Since the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7 last year, Israel has been conducting a massive military invasion of the Gaza Strip, which has reportedly killed over 30,000 people, including at least 12,000 women and children.

The bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria sparked an immediate outcry in Tehran, raising concerns that the Gaza conflict was being intentionally expanded into a broader regional war.

The next day, the Israeli embassy in India hosted a farewell event for approximately 60 Indian workers, marking the departure of the first group under a bilateral labour mobility agreement signed a year prior. They left for Israel that same night.

At the Ministry of External Affairs’ media briefing that week, there were repeated questions on the timing of the departure of the workers when the conflict in Gaza was still ongoing and tensions in the region were escalating. An advisory issued in March had already told Indian nationals in Israel to evacuate border areas after an Indian worker’s death in a northern Israeli town orchard.

The MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal claimed on April 4 that India had “urged the Israeli authorities to do their best to take care of their safety and their well-being”.

At the same briefing, the MEA spokesperson had also expressed “concern at the attack on Iranian diplomatic premises in Syria on 1 April 2024”.

He also stated that New Delhi was “distressed at the escalating tensions in West Asia, and their potential to fuel further violence and instability”.

On the day Indian workers were preparing to depart for Israel, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held talks with Iran’s secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Akbar Ahmadian on the sidelines of a SCO Security Conclave in Kazakhstan.

The Indian side did not publicise the meeting, but a statement was released by the Iranian embassy in New Delhi.

As per the Iranian press release, India and Iran “agreed that attacking diplomatic places should be costly for criminals”.

The Iranian embassy also claimed that the India NSA “expressed condolences over the martyrdom of Iranian advisors in an Israeli strike on the building of Iran’s consulate in Damascus on Monday”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel is preparing for an attack from Iran within its border “as soon as Friday or Saturday”.

Israel has already been on heightened alert since April 1, with the military cancelling leaves, calling up all reserves and turning off GPS systems to deter rocket attacks.

The US administration has publicly stated that it “fully supports the defense of Israel against threats from Iran”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been facing street protests overs his handling of the current crisis, reiterated that there Israel will respond directly to any attack. “Those who cause us harm will face consequences. We are ready to address all security requirements of Israel, be it defensive or offensive,” he said in an address at an Israeli air base on Thursday,

The US embassy on Thursday restricted the travel of its staff outside Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities “out of an abundance of caution”.

So far, Canada, Australia, Russia and France have all issued advisories cautioning their citizens against traveling to the Middle East.

Earlier on Wednesday, Lufthansa, the German airline, suspended its flights to Tehran, a decision that has since been extended. It was one of only two Western airlines flying to the Iranian capital until now.

This is a developing story.

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Disclaimer: Do Not Travel to Israel and Iran, MEA Says in Urgent Travel Advisory - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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