Sixteen Indians stranded in violence-affected areas of Iraq have been evacuated even as one of the 40 abducted Indians has fled from the captors in Mosul town which is under the control of the militants.
The developments came on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, heads of intelligence and security agencies as well as senior officials of External Affairs Ministry.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the meeting reviewed the “entire dimensions” of the situation taking into consideration all facts and information available to the government.
“We can confirm to you that one Indian has escaped and is in touch with our embassy in Baghdad,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.
The 40 Indians, who were working in a construction project, were abducted in Mosul which was seized by Sunni militant group ISIS.
He said the abducted Indians are safe and noted that the government was making “every effort so that it is resolved at the earliest.”
Asked about negotiations with the militants, the spokesperson said, “We are knocking on all doors, front doors, back doors and trapped doors.”
Eight Indians have been evacuated from Baiji while eight others were moved out from Anbar. They have since been flown out of Baghdad.
Iraq is witnessing serious strife with Sunni militants, backed by al-Qaeda, capturing two key cities and marching towards Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced in the fighting that broke out on June 10.