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India's Diplomatic Victory in Releasing Eight Navy Vets Shows Strong Ties With Qatar

© Photo : Twitter/@narendramodiIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Dubai on the margins of United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP28).
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Dubai on the margins of United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP28). - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.02.2024
Qatar has released eight Indian ex-naval officers who were previously condemned to death on allegations of spying for Israel.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India expressed gratitude to Qatar on Monday for the release. However, specific information about their arrest, trial, and the reduction of their sentence remains ambiguous.

“We appreciate the decision by the Amir [Emir] of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

A preliminary court hearing had sentenced them to death last year, leading to India expressing profound shock and filing an appeal.

Robust India-Qatar Alliance Fueled by Energy Collaboration

“The release of these individuals underscores the effective coordination initiated by India, a consistent effort that has been in place since the beginning. Beyond that, two crucial factors come to light — firstly, the strong alliance between India and Qatar becomes evident. Secondly, Qatar, serving as a substantial partner in energy security, accommodates a sizable Indian population," said Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, a distinguished fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF)

"Moreover, within the context of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the ambassador stated that “Sheikh Tamim of Qatar, notably, was the first Gulf leader to visit India when Prime Minister Modi assumed office. Subsequently, the enduring rapport between PM Modi and Sheikh Tamim played a substantial role in this development,” the ambassador said.

“India, steadfast in its commitment to the rule of law, has consistently emphasized dialogue and diplomacy. Throughout the process, India has adhered to legal procedures. The ongoing dialogue further underscores India's commitment to resolving matters through peaceful means," he noted.

Diplomatic Excellence: Appreciating Qatar's Global Leadership

There was a legal framework in place, the ambassador emphasized, that “initially involving a death penalty from the lower court which was subsequently reduced and modified within a few days. Additionally, the crucial element between any two nations lies in their relations. Strained relations can become a significant public concern, creating unnecessary issues without concrete evidence. Resolving such matters, which offer no tangible benefits, is a nuanced aspect of diplomacy.”

“In this context, diplomatic efforts by the government of Qatar, particularly by Sheikh Tamim, deserve appreciation. Qatar stands as a prominent diplomatic leader globally, addressing issues such as Israel, the Taliban, and various international concerns. They have showcased a unique form of diplomacy, demonstrating how to effectively resolve unnecessary conflicts between nations,” the expert explained.

Gulf Nations Recognize Professionalism of Indian Citizens

Speaking about the prospect of any reluctance in deploying soldiers for such roles abroad, the ambassador advised that “it is unlikely to become a recurring issue because the Gulf countries, as a collective, desire the presence of full-time soldiers to assist in their nations."

The expert pointed out that “this specific case appears to be unique and peculiar. It likely resulted from misunderstandings, misperceptions, misreporting, or misinformation. Such situations are not necessarily indicative of a recurring pattern."

“When leaders from the Gulf countries welcome Indian citizens to contribute to their nations' development, it is evident that the people of India, including retired military personnel, are highly regarded for their professionalism and discipline, even beyond their active service,” said Trigunayat.

FILE- INS Chennai, a Kolkata class destroyer, is moored at a jetty  in Mumbai, India, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.02.2024
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