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Qatar has launched eight Indian former naval officers sentenced to loss of life final yr for spying for Israel, India’s authorities mentioned.
The federal government of prime minister Narendra Modi mentioned it welcomed the discharge of the lads, including that seven out of the eight had now returned to India.
“We admire the choice by the Emir of the State of Qatar to allow the discharge and homecoming of those nationals,” India’s ministry of exterior affairs mentioned on Monday.
The lads had been working for Dahra World, a Doha-based defence companies firm, and have been arrested in August 2022 and stored in solitary confinement. They have been sentenced to loss of life in October final yr. Their launch adopted months of negotiations between Indian officers and their Qatari counterparts. Qatar in December dropped the loss of life sentences however stored the lads in detention.
Neither Qatar nor India had launched particulars of the costs of which they have been convicted, however an individual briefed on the case confirmed to the Monetary Occasions in October that the eight had been charged with spying for Israel. Qatar not often carries out the loss of life penalty. The final execution within the Gulf state was in 2020.
“We’re completely satisfied to have these seven Indian nationals again,” Vinay Kwatra, India’s international secretary, instructed a briefing in New Delhi on Monday afternoon. “An eighth Indian nationwide has additionally been launched and we proceed to see how rapidly their return to India can be doable.”
Kwatra mentioned Modi had “personally, always supervised all of the developments on this case and has by no means shied away from any initiatives that will make sure the return of the Indian nationals again residence.”
The lads’s launch follows a significant liquefied pure gasoline deal between Qatar, one of many world’s high LNG exporters, and India. State-owned QatarEnergy final week introduced it had entered a 20-year sale and buy settlement with Indian state-controlled agency Petronet LNG to supply 7.5mn tonnes a yr of LNG to India.
After a two-day go to to the United Arab Emirates, Modi is about to carry bilateral conferences with Qatari emir Sheikh Tamir bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha on Wednesday, India mentioned.
India has been courting nearer ties with energy-rich Gulf states, and Qatar is residence to an Indian diaspora group of roughly 840,000, in keeping with India’s authorities, principally international staff.
Qatar doesn’t have formal relations with Israel. But it surely has performed a number one position in brokering negotiations to safe support for the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip and the discharge of the remaining hostages kidnapped by the militant group Hamas on October 7, after an assault on southern Israel that killed greater than 1,200 and prompted the Jewish state to declare battle.
The Modi authorities, which has constructed shut ties with Israel in defence and different areas, has referred to as for an finish to the battle with Hamas and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, however has restrained its criticism of the Israeli assault on Gaza, which, in keeping with Hamas well being officers, has killed greater than 28,000 folks.
India is heading right into a nationwide election this yr, anticipated to be held in levels throughout April and Might, wherein Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata occasion can be searching for a 3rd five-year time period in workplace.