On the margins of the COP28 meeting in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise the issue of the death penalty for eight former Indian Navy officers with Qatar’s Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. After arriving in Dubai late on Thursday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak with Qatari officials attending the COP28 summit about the issue. The Amir arrived in Dubai on Friday, escorted by senior officials and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On the sidelines of the climate meeting, Prime Minister Modi will hold a series of bilateral meetings in Dubai. The Ministry of External Affairs has not yet formally announced a bilateral meeting with the Emir of Qatar, but the sources told ABP LIVE that even though India has urged Qatar to abolish the death penalty, it is thought that the PM may have a quick conversation with him about the issue.
The matter will be discussed at the highest level for the first time, according to sources. India is reportedly going to press Qatar to “reconsider” the death sentence that was imposed on the former Indian Navy officers. Following India’s appeal against the death penalty being accepted by a court in Qatar, this has happened. Once the appeal has been reviewed, the court is anticipated to schedule a hearing.
On October 26, 2023, the eight former members of the Indian Navy were given the death penalty. In August 2022, they were taken into custody. There, the ex-Navy officials were employed by a Doha-based private company called Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services. Arindam Bagchi, the MEA’s spokesperson, stated that this is a “sensitive case” at a press briefing last month.
“The case is currently in a legal process there. As we mentioned, an appeal has been filed in Qatar’s Court of Appeal. We are also engaged with the Qatari authorities on the matter, and we will, of course, continue to extend all legal and consular assistance … The sensitive nature of the case, as well as the fact that the judgement in the entire process has been made confidential by the Qatari side … We hope for a positive outcome.,” Bagchi had stated.
Eight navy veterans were detained last August on suspicion of spying on Israel for sensitive information about Qatar’s military submarine program. They are Captains Navtej Singh Gill, Birendra Kumar Verma, Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh. They have been detained longer by the Qatari authorities, who have repeatedly denied their requests for release on bail. Prior to his arrest, Commander Tiwari (retd.) held the position of Managing Director at Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services. He was a decorated Navy officer who oversaw multiple Indian Navy warships.
In 2019, he was even awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, met with the veterans’ families following the announcement of the death sentence and gave them assurances about the government’s efforts to provide them with relief. “Met this morning with the families of the 8 Indians detained in Qatar. Stressed that the Government attaches the highest importance to the case. Fully share the concerns and pain of the families. Underlined that the Government will continue to make all efforts to secure their release. Will coordinate closely with the families in that regard,” the Minister stated on X on October 30.