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Qatar Releases Eight Jailed Ex-Indian Navy Veterans Charged with Espionage

In a significant development in the diplomatic relations between India and Qatar. The release of the Indian Navy veterans and the dropping of espionage charges signifies a positive turn in the relationship between the two countries. Such diplomatic breakthroughs are crucial for fostering trust and cooperation between nations. It’s also a relief for the families of the veterans and reflects the importance of dialogue and negotiation in resolving international disputes.

“The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals”, the MEA statement said.

Commander Purnendu Tiwari’s death sentence was commuted, and efforts are underway for his return to India. The fact that he is expected to return soon indicates further progress in resolving this diplomatic issue between India and Qatar. His eventual return will bring relief to his family and loved ones, and it will also serve as another positive step in the bilateral relations between the two countries. Diplomatic efforts to ensure the safe return of all individuals involved in such cases are crucial for maintaining trust and cooperation between nations.

Released Ex-Indian Navy veterans as they land at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, they expressed their happiness of coming back to the country and thanked the Ministry of External Affairs for their constant help. ( Image: DD News)

In December last year, the appellate court in Qatar commuted the death sentence to the eight former Indian Navy personnel.

The Indian nationals, all employees of Doha-based Dahra Global, were taken into custody in August 2022. The charges against them were not made public by Qatari authorities.

The granting of consular access to the Indian envoy and the subsequent commutation of the sentence for Commander Purnendu Tiwari and the other Indian Navy veterans can be attributed to the diplomatic efforts led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during their meeting on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai on December 1. Their discussion on bilateral partnership and the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar likely included talks about the situation regarding the eight former Indian Navy personnel on death row. This diplomatic engagement underscores the importance of dialogue and cooperation in resolving sensitive international issues and ensuring the welfare of citizens living abroad.

The involvement of the Indian Navy veterans in overseeing the induction of Italian small stealth submarines adds another layer of complexity to the situation. It seems they were engaged in a private capacity with Dahra Global for this task.

The fact that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with their family members and assured them of the government’s commitment to the case indicates the seriousness with which India approached this matter. Additionally, the submission of a mercy plea by the families of the eight veterans to the Emir of Qatar underscores the collaborative efforts made by both the Indian government and the families themselves to seek a resolution to the situation.

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