Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday sought to assure the families of 40 Indian nationals kidnapped in Iraq, saying the government was making all possible efforts to resolve the crisis.
“The government is leaving no stone unturned to find a solution to this. I am personally supervising this,” Swaraj said.
“I want to assure the family that the government and I will try our very best, make every effort (to bring back Indians),” the minister further stated.
She informed that she will meet some of the kin of Indians kidnapped in Iraq later today.
Swaraj made the remarks after meeting Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal earlier in the morning.
Most of the 40 kidnapped Indians are from Punjab, and Badal has said that his government was ready to shell out the `ransom` to secure their release.
Speaking after the meeting, Badal said, "I met Sushma Swaraj at her house. I pray to God that they come back home safely and whatever we can do we are trying so that they can come back. Punjab is highly worried for them."
With no information available about the fate of the 40 Indians, their families are travelling to Delhi to meet the External Affairs Minister and other MEA officials.
The kidnappers – believed to be ISIS militants – have not made any ransom demand so far.
The MEA had Wednesday evening confirmed that the 40 missing Indians had in fact been kidnapped. They were working in the Tariq Noor al Juda construction company.
"We will not spare any efforts to help the Indians in Iraq," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters yesterday.
"Contingency plan unit is working in Delhi for other options. Former ambassador of India to Iraq Suresh Reddy is going to help reinforce Indian mission," he said.
The MEA has also set up a round-the-clock control room to provide information on Iraq. The same can be reached at 011-23014104 (telephone), 011-23018158 (fax) or through email at email@example.com.
ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – has taken control of several Iraqi cities from the state forces and is also posing a threat to the capital Baghdad. The Iraqi government has requested the US to launch air strikes against ISIS militants.