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    Modi govt’s first overseas crisis:India caught in Iraqi crossfire

    June 19, 2014

    Forty Indian men working in a construction company in Iraq have been abducted by gunmen while they were reportedly trying to flee from Mosul, a city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    According to India's  External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin no ransom calls or any other demands have been made by any group to the government so far and the Indian Govt. is in touch with officials of Red Crescent, which is the only humanitarian organisation operating in this area of the conflict.


    External Affairs Ministry has assured the families of the missing men, most of them from Punjab, of the government’s efforts to bring them back safely.


    New Delhi is helping to facilitate the return of other Indians working in Iraq who wish to return home. But a complex set of factors, including the mushrooming of checkpoints set up by the Sunni tribesmen in tactical alliance with the militants, may hamper the rescue and evacuation operations. Baghdad asked Washington to carry out air strikes on militants in the north.


    ICRC spokesperson Saleh Dabbakeh has said that he had not heard anything about the 40 Indian men, nor could he confirm which group may be holding the men. Determining their exact location is difficult because communication links in the general area of their detention have snapped. However, sources said the detainees appeared to have been moved to a cotton factory within 30 kilometres of Mosul.(KH/SI)

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