Release of eight Indians –


The release of 8 former Indian Navy officers in Qatar is a major diplomatic victory for India. 7 out of these 8 Indians have also returned back to India. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement welcoming the release. These former officers were working in Al-Dahra Company of Doha. He was detained in Qatar in August 2022. Last year, the Qatar court had convicted him in the espionage case and sentenced him to death. However, this punishment was later reduced. The release of the Indians has come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to Doha, the capital of Qatar on 14 February. PM Modi will reach Qatar after his UAE tour. The 8 former Navy officers who were kept in custody in Qatar are Captain Saurabh Vashishtha, Commander Purnandu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh. Commander Purnandu Tiwari was also honored with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the then President Ramnath Kovind in 2019. At the same time, Captain Navtej Gill has been awarded the President’s Gold Medal. Now, except Commander Purnandu Tiwari, all the other former officers have returned to India. He is currently in Doha and will return to India soon. On 26 October, the eight Indians were sentenced to death and all returned to India on the morning of 12 February. That means he was released within 108 days after the death sentence was announced. After the decision of death penalty, the Indian Foreign Ministry said, we are surprised by the decision of death penalty. We are also in touch with the family members and the legal team. All legal options are being explored to ensure the release of Indian citizens. A few days after this decision, India appealed on 9 November. On November 23, the court accepted this appeal. The approval of this appeal within a month of the death sentence decision was a big victory. But amidst all this, the biggest news of relief came on December 28, when the Qatar court reduced the death sentence. The court sentenced them to 3 to 25 years in jail. Also given 60 days time to appeal against this sentence. Only after this decision a new path opened for the release of these Indians. Foreign Minister Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval played a big role in the release of Indians jailed in Qatar. While Jaishankar was playing on the ‘front foot’, Doval was handling the entire work behind the scenes. Jaishankar took charge of the front related to diplomacy. Jaishankar also met the families of these 8 Indians. At the same time, the entire responsibility of negotiating with the Qatari authorities for the release of the Indians was on Doval. On the advice of Prime Minister Modi, NSA Doval held several rounds of talks with Qatari officials. It is said that after the death sentence decision, Doval had gone to Doha 2 to 3 times.

While the release of eight former Indian Navy officers is a relief news for Indians, it is also a diplomatic success for the Modi government. Prime Minister Modi and his right-hand man, Foreign Minister Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval have also played an important role in this release. Spring has truly arrived in the lives of the released Indians and their families. At the same time, the diplomatic success of Modi government has increased the confidence of Indians and the credibility of India.

-Irwin Khanna, Editor-in-Chief, Dainik Uttam Hindu.

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