New Delhi, July 11: As soon as the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State terrorist group, Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh embarked for Baghdad to bring 39 Indian hostages safely back to the country.
Before embarking to Iraq, General VK Singh said, "After the declaration that Mosul has been liberated the External Affairs Ministry decided that we must send our officials to locate 39 Indians, who are held captive by ISIS and bring them back safely to the country.”
We are hopeful that we will be able to find them. In last two years, we haven't have a negative input so far," General VK Singh added. General VK Singh (retd) today reached to Iraq's Erbil to coordinate with the government there for the return of stranded Indians.
According to the official sources, the Indian government has also activated various channels for locating those Indians. Iraqi authorities have also conveyed that all cooperation would be extended in this regard and instructions have been issued by them to all relevant Iraqi agencies for the same. The Ambassador of India to Iraq and the Consulate General in Erbil were also instructed to continue the efforts to locate the 39 trapped Indians on top priority.
Earlier, External Affairs Ministry confirmed that 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, had been held hostage by the fighters aligned to the ISIS in Mosul since 2014 and are alive. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also assured Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who had sought her intervention, that the ministry was making possible efforts to locate the Indians.