No substantial evidence on 39 missing Indians, says Iraq

The issue was raised by Swaraj during extensive talks with al-Jaafari, who began a five-day India visit today, almost two weeks after Mosul's liberation by Iraqi forces.

In a flip-flop, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said here on Monday that the 39 Indians missing in the city of Mosul since 2014 are considered alive, after having said earlier in the day his government was not 100 per cent sure about this.

"We want external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to clarify the exact position and tell us what the government is planning to do now on this issue", she said. She said they had information that the Indians were in a jail in Badush. "We are making serious efforts to find out more in this issue", said Mr Al-Jaafari.

Other affected families, who all are from poor backgrounds from different parts of Punjab, say that they have nothing but to pin hopes on the government's and the minister's assurances.

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On July 12, Singh visited the Peshmarga frontline in Mosul area to seek information on the Indians.

This was revealed by the Iraqi Minister during his meeting with Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

"But the minister clearly said he did not have any information about them", Davinder added.

However, a report in Hindustan Times said that the jail in Badush was in ruins and there was no sign of the Indians. Our robust bilateral trade amounted to almost US$ 13 billion in 2016-17. Apart from Sushma Swaraj, al-Jaafari met Vice President Hamid Ansari and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. Iraq contributes significantly to India's energy security and is the second-largest supplier of crude oil to us (over 37 MMT during 2016-17). As per Indian Express, focus of the meeting between two leaders was reportedly on 39 missing Indians in Iraq, who were reportedly kidnapped by terrorist group ISIS about three years ago from Mosul.