Amid rising concern over the abduction of 40 Indian construction workers in Mosul town in strife-torn Iraq, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said all efforts are underway to rescue them and all others stranded in the violence-hit areas of the Gulf country.
Giving an assurance to the families of those kidnapped, she said every possible effort is being made to rescue them.
“All efforts are underway (to rescue them). I am personally supervising the efforts. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their return,” Ms. Swaraj told reporters in New Delhi.
The External Affairs Ministry had on Wednesday announced that the 40 workers had been kidnapped in Mosul but said no demand for ransom has been received.
The workers, mostly from Punjab and other parts of northern India, were working on a construction project in Mosul in northern Iraq which has been captured by Sunni militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
India is in touch with various humanitarian agencies, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and Iraqi government to gather more information about the kidnapping, according to the Spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry.
About 10,000 Indian nationals are currently in Iraq and the government said some 100 were stranded in violence-hit areas in that country.
The Ministry said it was in touch with the 46 nurses who are stranded in Tikrit town, which was also taken over by ISIS militants. In response to a request by the Indian embassy, International Red Crescent had contacted the nurses.
The government has sent former envoy to Iraq Suresh Reddy to strengthen the Indian Mission in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that his state is ready to bear all expenses for the safe return of Punjabis kidnapped in oil-rich Mosul town.
Keywords: Tikrit, Iraq unrest, stranded nurses in Iraq, missing Indians, ISIS, Iraq jihadist militancy, suspected kidnap, MEA, Mosul kidnap, Indian construction workers kidnap, Sushma Swaraj, rescue operations