Mission Iraq: Where are the missing 39 Indians?

Sushma Swaraj to hold talks with Iraqi counterpart on Indians abducted by IS

Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Monday said that his government has no substantial evidence whether the 39 Indians that the Islamic State had kidnapped in 2014 are alive or dead, ANI reported. "Then on July 16, during a meeting with Union minister Sushma Swaraj, we were told that they might have been lodged in a jail in Badush in northwest Mosul", said Sarwan. "We have been going through this torture for the past over three years", said Manjit Kaur, whose husband Dalwinder is among the missing men.

Swaraj is likely to make a detailed statement in Parliament tomorrow about her meeting with her Iraqi counterpart.

He also said that the Iraqi government had financial incentives for people who could help locate those 39 Indians.

While briefing the mediapersons here, the Iraqi minister said, "Can't confirm anything about the missing Indians", adding that his government will continue to its level best to trace them.

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Lorenzana said there is a continued presence of terrorists allied with IS militants, especially in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Maguindanao and the Central Mindanao region.

The remarks by Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim Al Jafari is significant because Swaraj had said last week that, according to information available with the Indian government, the Indians were probably lodged in the Badush jail. He said some IS-held areas were still being cleared.

Al-Jaafari's visit from July 24 to 28 to India comes two weeks after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced liberation of Mosul.

Sushma Swaraj had, earlier this month, also assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians. Iraq contributes significantly to India's energy security and is the second-largest supplier of crude oil to us (over 37 MMT during 2016-17).

It has been three years since the Islamic State abducted 39 Indian labourers from Mosul city in Iraq.

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