Sushma Swaraj had, earlier this month, also assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians. "The jail of Badush is in the control of the Iraqi government". Al Jafari, however, sounded ambivalent about whether or not any such information about the Indians being in Badush was provided by Iraqi authorities to India. He said Singh's information, that the Indians were lodged in the jail, was based on inputs gathered before its demolition.
Besides the missing Indians, the Iraqi Minister and Sushma Swaraj are to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest. "We don't know if those 39 are dead or alive but all efforts are being made to trace them", said Jafari. We are equally concerned.
"We are not sure 100 per cent whether they are alive or not". "We are very sad about them that they are stuck there.that where they are.I feel very very sad".
The Iraqi Foreign Minister also said he isn't sure if the missing Indian labourers are alive. "My deep compassion and sympathy are with the families of the Indians".
"Whether they are safe or if they are in any trouble", said Tirupati. "We will do our utmost in the case, but it may take time", he said.
He said that Singh "could" have probably been told "by a source within the Iraqi government that they [the missing] were deported to Badush jail but they were not aware that it was their final destination". Swaraj is likely to make a detailed statement in Parliament tomorrow about her meeting with her Iraqi counterpart. He said some Islamic State held areas were still being cleared. The volume of bilateral trade in 2016-17 was almost $13 billion. Iraq contributes significantly to Indias energy security and is the second-largest supplier of crude oil to us (over 37 MMT during 2016-17). "The Prime Minister also went to Middle East and what is the net result?", he said.
However, media reports on Saturday suggested the prison in Badush had been reduced to a rubble due to the civil war between the Iraqi forces and the Isis fighters.