External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought the Iraq government’s help in tracing the 39 Indians, abducted in June 2014 in Mosul, as also help in facilitating the visit of her deputy V K Singh to Badush. She also expressed India’s support for the people and the government of Iraq in their ongoing war against terrorism and their efforts to uphold their country’s sovereignty and preserve its territorial integrity, ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said today. Briefing reporters on first official India visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Baglay said the two ministers discussed matters of mutual interest pertaining to bilateral, regional and international affairs.
“Swaraj reiterated Indian government’s request for tracing the 39 Indians who were abducted in Mosul in June 2014 and for Iraq’s continued assistance in this regard. The Iraqi Foreign Minister assured cooperation in all earnestness from the Iraqi side and informed her of the efforts being undertaken,” the spokesperson said. He also said Swaraj requested the Iraqi leader to facilitate the visit of Singh to Badush whenever there was more information, to which the visiting dignitary readily agreed.
The visit by Singh will be more meaningful if there is more information with the Iraqi government, he said when asked when will the minister travel to Iraq. Based on information gathered by her junior minister Singh during his recent visit to Iraq, Swaraj on July 16 had stated that Badush jail in northwest Mosul was the last known location of the Indians.
Swaraj also congratulated the Iraqi minister over the liberation of the strategic city of Mosul on 9 July by Iraqi forces from the control of the terrorist organisation ISIS. She assured her Iraqi counterpart that India had always been, and remained strongly committed to a stable, peaceful, united and democratic Iraq, a ministry release said.
The minister also thanked Iraq for contributing significantly to India’s energy security, being the second- largest supplier of crude oil to us. The visiting Minister appreciated India’s steadfast support to Iraq during its difficult times, including through capacity-building under the ITEC programme. He highlighted that India continued to welcome Iraqi nationals, especially for higher studies and medical treatment.
The Iraqi foreign minister also invited Indian companies to participate in the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq, which Swaraj welcomed, the release said. The visiting minister thanked Swaraj for her letter of congratulations and for visit of Singh, who was the first senior foreign dignitary to visit Iraq after the liberation of Mosul.