Iraqi Minister arrives on India visit, talks to focus on missing Indians

25 July, 2017, 11:58 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will hold talks with her Iraqi counterpart during which focus is expected to be on the missing Indians mostly Punjabis who were kidnapped by the ISIS June 2014 from Mosul city

"We want external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to clarify the exact position and tell us what the government is planning to do now on this issue", she said.

Although, the main agenda t to hold a discussion will focus on the 39 Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State from Iraq's Mosul three years back. She had a meeting with her Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Eshaiker Al-Jaafari who is on a visit to India.

The minister said the Iraqi government will make all possible efforts to trace the Indians, while expressing hope that they are alive.

After Swaraj's statement which suggested that missing Indians may be alive in prison in Iraq, India Today travelled to Mosul.

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"Initially we were told that Indians were last seen in Badush Jail but with reports coming that Jail structures are demolished, we don't know what to expect", Gurpinder lamented.

"The case is not just the concern of the Indian government and the families of the men in India; this issue is also a concern of the Iraqi government". External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and ministers of state for external affairs V.K. Singh and M.J. Akbar seen with the families of the 39 missing Indians. He said the government initially said the Indians were in Mosul.

The recent media reports from Iraq however made it clear that the Iraqi Army had already taken over Badush from the IS in March itself and the prison had been largely razed due to the war.

Sushma Swaraj has met the families of the 39 persons around a dozen times since they were abducted in June 2014 and assured them that the government is doing everything to locate them.

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"We are not sure whether they are alive or not, we don't know". Our robust bilateral trade amounted to almost US$ 13 billion in 2016-17.

The government had earlier said the hostages were last seen at a prison in Badush, near Mosul, which is witnessing one of the fiercest fights between Islamic State militants and joint Iraqi and USA forces.

Pratap Singh Bajwa, a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, recently said that he would move a privilege motion against External Affairs Minister, who, according to him, had lost all credibility after failing to provide correct information to people about Indians kidnapped in Iraq.

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