NEW DELHI (Diya TV) – India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, met with the families of eight Indian nationals detained in Qatar on charges of spying for Israel. He told the families the Indian government is actively working to secure each man’s freedom.

In a post on X, Jaishankar emphasized the government’s commitment to the case and expressed empathy for the concerns and distress of the affected families.

In the past week, a Qatari court sentenced eight former Indian naval officers to death, although neither government has officially confirmed the specific charges against them. Citing government sources, Reuters reported they had been accused of spying for Israel.

This case, centered around the eight Indians who were engaged in a submarine project with a private company for Qatari authorities, could potentially pose a diplomatic challenge for New Delhi due to its significant dependence on Qatar for natural gas supplies.

The eight men are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commodore Amit Nagpal, Commodore Purnendu Tiwari, Commodore Sugunakar Pakala, Commodore Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.

The Indian government was stunned by the sentence and is taking up the matter with Qatari authorities, while exploring all available legal options.

C. Kalyan Chakravarthy, the brother-in-law of one of the detained veterans, Sugunakar Pakala, made an earnest appeal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaishankar, urging them to facilitate the release of these individuals.

“These men are all over 50 years old and traveled to Doha to earn a livelihood. Why would they engage in spying, and for what gain? Therefore, I implore the Indian Government to repatriate my brother-in-law, Pakala, and the other detainees,” Chakravarthy emphasized during his conversation with reporters at the Vizag Press Club.

Chakravarthy stressed that it has already been 14 months since the former naval officers were imprisoned in the Middle Eastern nation and called for clarity on the timeline for their repatriation.

According to Chakravarthy, the Qatari authorities apprehended the eight individuals in the middle of the night, based on unsubstantiated charges arising from their amicable conversations, phone calls, and exchanges with military attaches from India.

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar says the Government of India is leaving no stone unturned to secure the release of eight former Indian Navy personnel who have been sentenced to death by a court in Qatar. Jaishankar’s statements came following his meeting with the families of the men.

Last week, a Qatari court imposed capital punishment, alleging the men were spying for Israel. The Qatari intelligence agency detained them in August 2022, though neither India nor Qatar has officially disclosed the charges against them. Jaishankar on X said, “the Government will continue to make all efforts to secure their release. Will coordinate closely with the families in that regard.”

The eight men detained in Qatar are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.

Reports suggest that these former Naval officers faced allegations of espionage related to a submarine program on behalf of Israel, with Qatari authorities claiming to possess electronic evidence. Despite repeated bail pleas, the Qatari authorities denied their release. New Delhi has been granted access to the Indian nationals and is actively working toward securing their release. The men were first put on trial in March this year.