NEW DELHI: In a high-level visit to the conflict-riddled Iraq and Syria and Lebanon, India will be getting a “first-hand assessment” of the biggest threat to the region — the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
In his maiden official visit, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar is scheduled to travel to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq from August 17-23 and is expected to meet key leaders there to discuss the security issues.
Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the Islamic State being the biggest “security threat” would be on the agenda.
“As I announced that the issues related to the peace and security of the region will be discussed in the meeting and the Islamic State is the biggest threat of the region and it will feature on the list,” said Swarup. Another important issue to be taken up during the visit will be the 39 Indians who have been held hostage in the war-hit Mosul. In Lebanon, Akbar is expected to meet the top leadership, including President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Tammam Salam and will have extensive talks covering bilateral, regional and international issues.
The minister will pay a courtesy call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and will also be meeting the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun.
In Iraq, he will hold talks with Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Eshaiqer Al-Jafari.