Faced with a challenging situation, India is now banking heavily on Qatar to secure the release of 39 workers held captive in Mosul in war-torn Iraq.
HT has learnt that a special envoy of the Indian government visited Qatar this week as part of Delhi’s diplomatic efforts to ensure the safety of the Indian workers.
Among all the governments of the Gulf nations, Qatar is said to have the best leverage with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which now calls itself the Islamic State (IS) and controls vast areas of Iraq.
The 39 Indians are believed to be in the custody of IS in Mosul.
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Despite many efforts, getting them released is proving to be a long haul for the government.
Following the release of 46 Indian nurses who were stranded in a Tikrit hospital, the government has stepped up diplomatic efforts to ensure the workers’ release.
According to security sources in the government, reports of ISIS militia shifting the hostages, including the Indians, from one place to another has caused concern in the Indian establishment.
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The government has been in touch with all the neighbouring Gulf countries for the release of the workers.
Meanwhile, the government has brought back another 15 Indians home from the conflict zone.
Over 3,000 Indians have been brought to India since the beginning of the conflict in Iraq. There were 10,000 in Iraq at the beginning of the conflict.
Full coverage:Iraq on the brink