Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The Iraqi government has confirmed the abduction of 40 Indian construction workers in violence-hit Iraq`s Mosul area, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
In an important piece of information, ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said that the Iraqi Foreign Ministry has told India that they have found the location where militants have kept the abducted workers.
He, however, said that there has been no contact with any of the abducted Indians.
Akbaruddin also said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy about the situation.
Underlining that the safety of Indians is the priority of the country, Akbaruddin said the Indian embassy in Baghdad is keeping a tab on the situation. He, however, added that there is no safety in captivity.
"Safety is when people are present at a place where they are welcomed," the MEA spokesperson said.
A number of Indians stuck in Iraq have contacted us since yesterday, Akbaruddin said, adding that Crisis management group met twice in the capital today to deliberate upon the issue.
Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters that she is "personally mulling over all options. The government is making all kinds of efforts. We are not leaving any stone unturned".
India had on Wednesday announced that its 40 nationals working for a Turkish construction company have been abducted in Iraq`s Mosul area, which has been taken over by Sunni insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The abduction is a major crisis for the Narendra Modi government that took office less than a month ago.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said the workers mostly belonged to the country`s northern states, such as Punjab, and worked for the Tariq Noor al Huda construction company.
He had also said that no ransom call was received.