New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) The 40 Indian workers who have reportedly been kidnapped by militants in Iraq's Mosul city remain "uncontactable", the external affairs ministry said Wednesday, though it refused to confirm the report.
"There are reports that there are 40 Indian nationals in Mosul. Despite our best efforts, at this stage we haven't been able to contact them. So, they remain uncontactable at this stage," ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told the media.
"Beyond that, I am not able to confirm or verify reports of a speculative nature," he added.
Media reports have claimed that the 40 workers were kidnapped by suspected militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) while they were being evacuated.
Meanwhile, the 46 Indian nurses - most of them from Kerala - who are stranded in Tikrit, have already been looked up by the Iraqi Red Crescent at the request of the Indian government, Akbaruddin said.
According to him, the Indian embassy was "regularly in touch" with all Indian nationals in Iraq and would be sending a "seasoned Indian diplomat", Suresh Reddy, to Baghdad to "assist the embassy in its efforts".
"Since he was our ambassador there previously, he is well versed and knowledgeable about the area and this is to strengthen and enhance our effectiveness in the region," said Akbaruddin.
Al-Qaeda-inspired militants have overrun the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit, threatening the security and territorial integrity of the country. They are proceeding towards Baghdad.