‘India welcomes return of Navy veterans from Qatar’

07:53 PM Feb 12, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

India achieved a significant diplomatic victory when a court in Doha, Qatar, released eight Indian Navy veterans previously sentenced to death. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that seven of these Indian citizens have already returned home. Their death sentences were earlier reduced to longer prison sentences after India’s government stepped in to help.


Out of the eight, only Commander Purnendu Tiwari hasn’t come back to India yet, according to The Indian Express. Even though Commander Tiwari was released from jail with the others, it’s not known why he hasn’t returned. But, it is anticipated that Commander Tiwari will also return to India shortly.

Over 800,000 Indians reside and work in Qatar, a country that also plays a crucial role in supplying natural gas to India.

Based on the information we have, there are about 750 Indians in Qatar’s jails.

“We spent nearly 18 months waiting to return to India. We are deeply thankful to the Prime Minister. Our return wouldn’t have been possible without his direct involvement and his relationship with Qatar. We deeply appreciate the Indian government’s efforts. This day would not have been possible without their hard work,” said another.


Who are the 8 Indian Navy Veterans?

i). On December 28, the Court of Appeal in Qatar changed the death sentences given in October to prison terms for the eight men working for Al Dahra Global Technologies in Doha. They received sentences ranging from three to 25 years.

ii ) Al Dahra Global Technologies, a company in Doha, offered training and services to Qatar’s military and security groups, according to news agency PTI.

iii ) The veterans, named Captains Navtej Gill and Saurabh Vasisht, Commanders Purnendu Tiwari, Amit Nagpal, SK Gupta, BK Verma, Sugunakar Pakala, and sailor Ragesh, were arrested in August 2022 without any specific charges being made public.

iv) Captain Navtej Gill, one of the eight veterans, received the President’s Gold Medal for his outstanding performance at the Naval Academy. He also worked as a teacher at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, as reported by PTI.

V ) Sources who asked to remain unnamed previously shared that Purnendu Tiwari received a 25-year jail sentence, and Ragesh was sentenced to three years. They also mentioned that four of the ex-Navy officers were sentenced to 15 years each in prison, while the remaining two got 10-year sentences.

Vi) Many reports claimed the men were charged with spying, but neither Qatari nor Indian officials have shared specifics about the accusations.

India’s efforts to bring the soldiers back

a . India previously expressed strong surprise over the death sentence from Qatar’s Court of First Instance and promised to explore every legal way to assist the eight men, including honored officers who led major warships in the Indian Navy.

b. India appealed against the death sentence in Qatar’s Court of Appeal. On December 28, this court changed the death sentences to prison terms.

c. As the worried families of the Navy veterans urgently asked for their release and return to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) promised to use all diplomatic means and provide legal help to bring them back home.

d. The decision by the Qatar court is viewed as a major diplomatic victory for India, happening shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the COP28 Summit in Dubai. Following their December 1 meeting, Modi mentioned they talked about the welfare of Indians living in Qatar.

e . In January, the Appeal Court gave the eight ex-Indian Navy members 60 days to challenge the different prison sentences they received after their death sentences were reduced, according to the external affairs ministry.

f . The court first announced its decision verbally, and Randhir Jaiswal, a spokesperson for the external affairs ministry, said during a usual press meeting that the lawyers helping the eight men got the verdict in writing, but it was a “secret document.”

Indian govt welcomes Qatar court’s decision

On February 12, India’s government made an official announcement, expressing happiness over the decision to free the veteran officers. They said, “India’s government is pleased with the release of eight Indians who worked for the Dahra Global company and were held in Qatar. Seven of them have already come back to India. We are thankful for the Amir of Qatar’s decision to allow these people to return home.”

Girish Linganna
Aerospace & Defence Analyst

(The author Girish Linganna of this article is a Defence, Aerospace & Political Analyst based in Bengaluru. He is also Director of ADD Engineering Components, India, Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany. You can reach out to him at:

Disclaimer: The opinions and assertions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Udayavani. The publication holds no legal responsibility for the content presented.


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