The Indian government on Monday banned its nationals from travelling to Libya for any reason, citing potentially deadly security threats.
A foreign ministry statement announced the indefinite travel ban.
“In view of prevailing security situation in Libya, security threats and challenges to lives of Indian nationals in Libya, the government of India has decided to impose travel ban on Indian nationals planning to travel to Libya irrespective of the purpose,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Around 18 000 Indians worked in Libya before the country descended into chaos in 2011, in local hospitals, teaching institutions and construction.
“All immigration authorities have been notified in this respect. Indian nationals may please take note of the travel ban for compliance”, the statement said, adding that the ban has been effective from May 3 this year.
The Indian embassy in Tripoli, which is operating out of a Tunisian city, has issued several advisories asking Indians to leave Libya.
Thousands were evacuated after the conflict began.
Monday’s decision was apparently dictated by recent weeks of increased violence, with the Islamic State group (ISIS) looking to expand its footprint beyond its coastal stronghold at Sirte.