India has promised action to save eight former naval officers sentenced to death in Qatar for spying. The incident could strain ties between the two countries, who have enjoyed good diplomatic relations for half a century.
India's external affairs ministry said it was “deeply shocked” by the sentence handed down last week to the eight men employed by Al Dahra, a Gulf-based firm in Qatar, where foreign workers make up 86 percent of the country’s population.
The ministry said it was "exploring all legal options" after the sentencing, and foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met relatives of the eight veterans.
The government "attaches the highest importance to the case" and it "will continue to make all efforts to secure their release", Jaishankar said on X.
Few details, much speculation
Neither Qatar nor India has provided details or stated the charges against the eigh men, who were arrested in August 2022.
Some local and international media have reported that the eight had been charged with spying for Israel on a Qatar submarine project.
Some speculate the Al Dahra employees were tasked by Iran to gather information about newly-commisionned vessels from Italy.
Military experts like Colonel D.S. Cheema dismissed such reports, saying no defence company would spy on a “customer” without a good reason.
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