PM Modi’s Qatar Visit Announcement Coincides with Release of Jailed Indians

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PM Modi, Qatar Visit,

PM Narendra Modi's Qatar visit is aimed at discussing ways to strengthen overall ties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Doha, Qatar, following his visit to the UAE, announced Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra today. The visit aims to enhance overall ties between the two nations, said Mr. Kwatra.

The announcement coincides with the return of eight Indian Navy personnel, who were jailed in Qatar over an alleged espionage case. Qatar had sentenced them to death in October 2023. Seven of them have already returned, while the eighth is expected to return soon.

Foreign Secretary Kwatra highlighted that PM Modi personally oversaw the handling of the case to secure the release of the Indians arrested in Qatar.

With over 8.4 lakh Indians residing in Qatar, the visit will focus on deepening bilateral ties, Mr. Kwatra added.

India expressed appreciation for the Emir of Qatar’s decision to release the detained Indians. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement acknowledging the release and homecoming of the individuals.

The eight Indian nationals involved in the case are Captain Navtej Gill (retired), Captain Saurabh Vasisht (retired), Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retired), Commander Amit Nagpal (retired), Commander SK Gupta (retired), Commander BK Verma (retired), Commander Sugunakar Pakala (retired), and sailor Ragesh.

Commander Tiwari is reported to remain in Doha but is expected to return to India soon, according to news agency PTI.

Initially sentenced to death on October 26 by Qatar’s Court of First Instance, the Navy veterans had their capital punishment commuted to jail terms ranging from three to 25 years by the Court of Appeal on December 28.

Last December, PM Modi met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the COP28 Summit in Dubai, discussing the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval played a significant role in negotiating with Qatari authorities for the release of the Indians.

The inauguration of the BAPS temple is a crucial aspect of PM Modi’s UAE visit, during which he will also address the Indian community at an event in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Kwatra mentioned. An estimated 2,000-5,000 devotees are expected to visit the temple on that day.

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