Qatar Shocks India; Sentences Eight Indian Navy Officers To Death In Spying Case

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, October 26, said it is deeply shocked and is awaiting the detailed judgement in the case.

Doha: A Qatar court has handed a death sentence to eight former Indian Navy officers, who were detained in August 2022.

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The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, October 26, said that it was deeply shocked and awaiting the detailed judgement by the Court of First Instance in the case. “We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed that they attach high importance to the case and have been following it closely.

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“We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities,” the statement added. The ministry refused to make any further comment due to the “confidential nature of proceedings” in the case against the eight officers.

The eight officers — Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Rajesh — have been held in custody since August 2022.

The eight Indian Navy officers were working at Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a company which trains the Qatari Emiri Navy and provides logistics services and equipment maintenance.



They have been held in solitary confinement without any public information about their charges, and their families are urging New Delhi for their swift release.

When were they arrested?

The former Navy men were first picked up by the state security bureau, the Qatari intelligence agency in August last year. The Indian embassy came to know about the development in mid-September, 2022.

According to Indian Express, on September 30, the men were allowed to contact their families via phone. For many months they were allowed to make calls weekly once. The first visit by an official of the Indian embassy was granted on October 3.



Though the charges against the men are not public, it is learnt that each have been kept under solitary confinement indicating they could have been arrested for security-related issues.

India-Qatar friendly ties

India and Qatar have always had friendly relationships. In 2021, India became one of the top four export countries and the top three sources of imports for Qatar. Trade value – LNG and LPG exports from Qatar touched $15 billion.

The Indo-Qatar defence relationship is described as a solid foundation for their friendship. The India-Qatar Defence Cooperation Agreement, signed during Prime Minister Singh’s November 2008 visit, was a significant turning point. The agreement was extended for another five years in 2018.



Indo-Qatar naval armies

Indian Naval and Coast Guard ships regularly visit the Arab country. Joint naval exercises with the Qatari Emiri Naval Force (QENF) happened in 2021.


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