On a three-day visit to Iraq to step up bilateral engagement, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar visited the holy Shiite city of Karbala, known as a centre of religious instruction, in the war-ravaged country.
On a three-day visit to Iraq to step up bilateral engagement, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar today visited the holy Shiite city of Karbala, known as a centre of religious instruction, in the war-ravaged country.
Akbar visited the mausoleum of Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson who was killed during the Battle of Karbala in the seventh century. The golden-domed mausoleum of Imam Hussein is considered the holiest shrine of Shia Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
Akbar also visited the shrine of Imam Hussein’s brother Imam al-Abbas who too was killed in the battle of Karbala.
“Privileged to have visited the holy shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas at Karbala. It was a moving experience,” Akbar tweeted.
Karbala is about 100 kms away from Baghdad and the holy city is visited by millions of Shiite Muslims every year.
Akbar’s visit to Baghdad and Karbala is part of his three-nation West Asia tour. He has already visited Syria and Lebanon.
Yesterday, he had held extensive talks with President Fuad Masum and other top Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on a range of issues including threat from Islamic State. In his talks, Akbar had requested for assistance of Iraqi leaders to rescue 39 Indians taken hostage in war-ravaged Mosul two years back.
Besides President Masum, Akbar held talks with President of the Council of Representatives Salim al-Jabouri, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Eshaiqer Al-Jaafari and National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayyadh.
The MEA said Akbar conveyed India’s support for the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and conveyed New Delhi’s abiding commitment to the emergence of a stable, peaceful, united and democratic Iraq.
Iraq has been hit hard by the Islamic State (IS), which has captured vast swathes of the oil-rich country and the talks focused largely on ways to combat terrorism.