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QUESTION NO.2103 INDIANS MISSING IN IRAQ

August 03, 2017

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2103
TO BE ANSWERED ON 03.08.2017

INDIANS MISSING IN IRAQ

2103. SHRI MD. NADIMUL HAQUE:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) the details of the reasons for delay in return of 39 Indians missing in Iraq since June 2014;

(b) the details of the steps Government has taken or is taking to ensure their early return; and

(c) whether Government has provided any compensation to the family, keeping in view that they were the bread earners of their family?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
(SHRI M. J. AKBAR)

(a) The 39 Indians missing in Iraq since June 2014 were abducted from the city of Mosul by the terrorist organization ISIS, which continued to attack and capture large parts of the Iraqi territory. The captured areas got converted into war zones.

(b) The safety and security of Indian nationals abroad, including in Iraq, has remained a matter of foremost concern and major preoccupation for the Government which has been making every effort and taking all steps to trace the 39 missing Indians. In this regard, the Government has been in regular touch with the countries in the region seeking their assistance.

External Affairs Minister spoke to her counterpart Foreign Ministers in the Gulf cooperation Council countries and also sought assistance from the leadership of other countries in the Middle East, as well as Foreign Ministers of the Arab League countries during the first Ministerial-level meeting of the India-Arab League Cooperation Forum held in Manama, Bahrain on 24 January 2016. The matter was included in the Joint Declaration issued at conclusion of the meeting.

Ministry of External Affairs established a camp office in Erbil, Iraq and positioned a senior official to coordinate the efforts with the host government and other relevant agencies. The Ministry later upgraded the Erbil camp office to a full-fledged Consulate General in March 2016.

Minister of State, Shri M.J. Akbar visited Iraq along with Lebanon and Syria and met the leadership seeking assistance in tracing them. Subsequently, during June 2017, senior officials in the Ministry of External Affairs were sent to Erbil with the same purpose.

Soon after the liberation of Mosul by the Iraqi security forces from ISIS on 9 July 2017, Minister of State for External Affairs, General V.K. Singh visited Iraq from 11-15 July to request the Iraqi leadership to take all possible measures to locate the missing Indians.

External Affairs Minister raised the matter with the Iraqi Foreign Minister on 24 July 2017 in New Delhi. She was assured full cooperation in all earnestness from the Iraqi side in this regard.

(c) As regards the issue of compensation, which is a State subject, External Affairs Minister requested the Chief Ministers of the State Concerned to render assistance to the families of the missing Indians under the existing State government schemes.

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