Indian aviation authorities have approved a plan by Iraq’s national carrier, Iraqi Airways, to operate four return flights every week to Baghdad — two each from Delhi and Mumbai.
“The first flight will be launched on February 12,” Bharat Bhushan, Director General of Civil Aviation, told The Indian Express.
An Indian ministry official said: “We are keen on direct flights not just to Baghdad, but also to Karbala [Kerbala].”
Several families of Indian origin are settled in Iraq, mainly in the holy cities of Basra, Najaf and Karbala, and thousands of Indians go every year to visit the Islamic pilgrimage shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas.
There are also many Indian workers employed by foreign contractors on reconstruction work all over the country.
More than 28,000 Iraqis visited India in 2010 for medical treatment, education and tourism. India offers 50 scholarships to Iraqi students for higher studies in India under schemes of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
(Source: The Indian Express)