Qatar detains senior Indian ex-naval officers
Delhi says govt is working for early release of 8 former naval personnel detained for two months in Qatar
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Red-faced Indian officials are making all possible efforts for the early release and repatriation of eight former naval personnel who had been detained in Qatar for about two months, the Indian external affairs ministry said.
While the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed their detention on Thursday, there was no information on the charges against these former navy officials.
The eight Indian nationals, including decorated former naval officers who have held senior positions, were reportedly working for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private firm that provides training and other services to Qatar’s armed forces and security agencies.
“We have been following developments [in Qatar] in this particular case. We are aware of the detention of eight Indian nationals who, we understand, were working for a private company in Qatar or in that region,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly news briefing on Thursday.
The Indian embassy in Doha has been in touch with Qatari authorities and “is making all possible efforts for the early release and repatriation of the detained Indian nationals”, he said.
Indian embassy officials were provided consular access to the detained Indian nationals and ascertained their well-being last month. The Indians have spoken to their family members on a few occasions, Bagchi said.
“We have requested for another round of consular access and we are following up with the Qatari authorities for this. Our embassy and the ministry are in touch with the families,” he added.
Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services’ website currently states it is under maintenance and the firm’s listing on Linkedin has been removed. The firm has described itself as a “local business partner” for the Qatari armed forces.
Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retired), who served as Dahra Global’s managing director, is among the detained Indians. He commanded several warships while serving with the Indian Navy.
All the detained Indians had worked for Dahra Global for the past few years. Several of them retired with the rank of commander. The Qatari authorities have not said anything officially regarding the reasons for their detention.
Among the eight Indians in custody is Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retd), the managing director of the firm. He received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2019 from the then President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.
His profile on the company website says he commanded a minesweeper and a large amphibious warship when he served in the Indian Navy.
The incident reportedly gained traction following a tweet by educator Dr. Meetu Bhargava who said that the veterans had been “illegally” detained for almost fifty-seven days. Dr Bhargava tagged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and other ministers.