New Delhi: India on Wednesday officially confirmed that 40 of its nationals, all working for a construction company in the violence-hit Iraqi city of Mosul, have been abducted by suspected militants.
"Forty Indian workers of the Tariq Noor Al Huda company in Mosul have been kidnapped. We have not received any calls of any nature asking for ransom or confirming that they (militants) have taken the workers in their custody," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told the media in Delhi.
The whereabouts of the kidnapped workers, most of them hailing from northern India, are not known, the spokesperson said, adding, "We will not spare any efforts to help the Indians in Iraq. India is sending back its former envoy… to strengthen the embassies in Iraq."
Sources in the ministry say that the former Indian ambassador to Iraq, Suresh Reddy, is on his way to Baghdad where he will try and establish contact with the abducted Indian workers.
Reddy is said to have good contacts in Iraq, which he may use to secure the release of the kidnapped nationals, the sources say.
Earlier in the day, the ministry had said it was unable to contact the 40 nationals, but stopped short of saying that they had been abducted, following a report by a local newspaper which broke the story.
Satrajit Moitra - Our Correspondent