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Missing Indians: VK Singh meets Iraqi Foreign Minister

IANS | New Delhi |

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Sunday met Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari in Baghdad, amid lack of any concrete information about fate of 39 Indians who went missing in Iraq three years ago.

“MoS @Gen_VKSingh met with Mr. Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari, Foreign Minister of Iraq today in Baghdad,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

He said VK Singh also held meetings with Iraqi National Security Advisor and the Army’s Chief of Staff.

It was in June 2014 that the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, went missing in Mosul city when it was overrun by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

After Mosul was freed from the IS in July this year, there was hope that the missing Indians will be found.

However, Al Jaafari, during his India visit in July, said he was not sure if the missing Indians were alive or not. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier assured the families, who have met her several times, that all efforts were being made to trace them.

Their families continue to hope the men are alive but also fear the worst.

Earlier this month, the families of the 39 Indians were asked to provide their DNA samples but no reason was provided.

Kumar said at his weekly media briefing here on Friday that V.K. Singh’s visit “is to talk to people”.

“He has met a range of people in Iraq. And also to get an update on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq,” he said.

VK Singh had visited Iraq in July too in this connection.