Updated February 12th, 2024 at 10:27 IST

How PM Modi's Meeting with Qatar Emir Was a Diplomatic Win Leading to Release of Navy Veterans

Early this morning, eight navy veterans who were on death row in Qatar due to espionage charges were freed. They expressed gratitude to PM Modi and the MEA.

Reported by: Nishtha Narayan
How PM Modi's Meeting with Qatar Emir Was a Diplomatic Win Leading to Release of Navy Veterans? | Image:X
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New Delhi: Eight navy veterans facing death row in Qatar on espionage charges were released earlier in the today's morning. Seven of them are back in India after spending 18 months in jail. According to media reports, the veterans have thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and foreign ministry for their timely intervention in the matter. PM Modi's intense negotiations marked the end of the distressing period for the veterans. All of them said that it would not have been possible without PM Modi's interference in the matter. 
 

What led to Ex-Navy Veterans Release from Jail in Qatar? 


1) PM Modi's Meeting With Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad In Dubai Marked The Beginning Of The Veterans' Release Journey


On December 1, 2023, PM Modi met Emr of Qatar on the sidelines of the COP 28 Summit in Dubai. After the meeting PM Modi reflected, "We had a good conversation on the potential of bilateral partnership and the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar."

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2) Foreign Ministry's Intervention 


After the report of the death penalty came into public domain in October 2023, India said that it was "deeply shocked" over the verdict. The country appealed against the court's verdict. India's External Affairs Ministry has been in constant touch with the kins of the Navy veterans while New Delhi's ambassador in Doha met the veterans in the prison and guided the counsel and family in the court procedures. 

"Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities," the MEA had earlier said.
 

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Why did Qatar detain Indian Navy officers?


Qatar had detained 8 retired Indian navy officers on the accusations of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. They were imprisoned in Qatar from October 2022. The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially. However, reports suggest that Qatar had accused the veterans of spying for Israel on Qatar's advanced submarines, which have stealth capabilities that make them harder to detect.
 

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Who are the 8 Indian Navy Veterans?


The Indian navy veterans who were detained in the case are- Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar who worked for Dahra Global Technologies, a defence services provider in Qatar.
Dahra Global Technologies is owned by a retired member of the Royal Omani Air Force. The owner of the firm were also detained along with the Indian Navy veterans in 2022.
 

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Published February 12th, 2024 at 10:10 IST