Tuesday, March 18
No need to panic: Crisis management group
Josy Joseph in New Delhi,, March 18, 2003

A high-powered Crisis Management Group on the Gulf situation concluded in its first meeting on Tuesday that there was no need to panic, even as India stepped up its monitoring of the unfolding situation.

The CMG is headed by Secretary (Asia and North Africa) R M Abhyankar with members from various ministries, including the Ministry of Defence.

The first meeting of the CMG was held on Monday with External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha in the chair.

"Besides MEA officials, there were representatives from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Defence and we plan to invite representatives of the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Labour in our next meeting," MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters.According to senior government officials, the first meeting concluded that "there was no need to panic" because of the one-sided affair this war was expected to be.

Indian Ambassador to Iraq B B Tyagi and other Indian staffers left the Iraqi capital and reached Amman on Sunday night. There were about a dozen businessmen and 15 Indian students in Iraq. "We believe most of them would be leaving the country within the next 48 hours," a senior official said. [...]
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