Ahead of the bilateral meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the embassy of Iraq Sunday said search operations are still on for 39 missing Indians, who were held captive by the Islamic State, and there is a “high level of coordination” between the Indian and Iraqi authorities to “locate” them.
This came a day after media reports said the Badush jail, where the Indians were believed to have been kept, has been reduced to rubble. Last Sunday, Swaraj had said intelligence sources in Iraq had told MoS, External Affairs, V K Singh that there is a possibility that the 39 Indians abducted by the IS militants from Mosul three years ago were kept there.
“Regarding the 39 Indian citizens who were taken as prisoners by Daesh terrorist group in 2014, search operations are still ongoing and there is a high level of coordination between Iraqi and Indian concerned authorities to locate them, as well as the Government of the Republic of India has already sent two high-level senior delegations to Iraq to follow up on this matter,” a statement by the Iraq embassy in Delhi said.
Al-Jaafari’s visit to India from July 24 to July 28 comes two weeks after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced liberation of Mosul, the second biggest city in his country, from the IS, marking a major milestone for the Iraqi security forces. On Al-Jaafari’s visit, the Ministry of External Affairs has said that the two sides will discuss the entire gamut of bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.