VK Singh to leave for Iraq as Indian government steps up efforts to trace 39 construction workers
After Iraqi forces reclaimed Mosul from Islamic State on Sunday, family members of the abducted workers, most of them from Punjab, have urged the Indian government to speed up efforts for their releaseindia Updated: Jul 13, 2017 07:50 IST
Minister of state for external affairs VK Singh will leave for Erbil, the capital city of Iraq, late on Monday as the government steps up efforts to trace the 39 construction workers who were abducted from Mosul three years ago.
India has a consulate in Erbil, about 90 km from Mosul, which was reclaimed by the Iraqi military from Islamic State on Sunday.
Singh will be coordinating the efforts to locate and release the Indian workers, most of them from Punjab.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has assured Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh that Air India officials at the airports had also been instructed to facilitate their return. The chief minister said he was hopeful the Indians would be back home soon, now that Mosul was no longer in the control of IS.
Family members of the abducted workers have urged the Indian government to speed up the efforts for the release after Mosul was “liberated”.
“As soon as the announcement of liberation of Mosul was made by the Prime Minister of Iraq, the government activated various channels for locating those (39) Indians”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.
The Ambassador of India to Iraq and Consul General in Erbil have been instructed to continue the efforts to locate them on priority. “Iraqi authorities have 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 spokesperson said.
He termed the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State an important milestone in the global war on terror, and said India welcomed it.
First Published: Jul 10, 2017 19:51 IST