New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) India said today Iraqi authorities have assured it of all cooperation in locating 39 Indian nationals reportedly in captivity in Mosul after Iraq declared victory against the IS group there.

“Liberation of Mosul from ISIS is an important milestone in the global war on terror, and India welcomes it… As soon as the announcement of liberation of Mosul was made by the Prime Minister of Iraq, the government activated various channels for locating those Indians,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.

He said Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh is travelling to Erbil.

The Ambassador of India to Iraq and the Consul General in Erbil have been instructed to continue the efforts to locate the Indian nationals on priority, he added.

“Iraqi authorities have conveyed that all cooperation would be extended in this regard and instructions have been issued by them to all relevant Iraqi agencies for the same,” the spokesperson said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab and have been reportedly held hostage in the Iraqi city of Mosul since 2014.

Amarinder had called up Swaraj to seek her intervention, saying that the families of the hostages were keenly awaiting the return of their kin following ISIS’ defeat and needed the central government’s support in bringing them back.

Swaraj also told him that V K Singh will coordinate with the Iraqi government and facilitate the return of the Indians stuck there, according to a spokesperson of Amarinder’s office.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.