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8th Indian in Qatar to return after fulfilling ‘certain requirements’: MEA

New Delhi, Feb 29, 2024
The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that the eighth Indian Navy veteran who was sentenced to death in Qatar along with seven others on espionage charges will return home after fulfilling ‘certain requirements’.

India scored a diplomatic victory with seven of its former navy personnel, who were working for Doha-based Dahra Global and were taken into custody in August 2022, returning home earlier this month.

They were identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Rajesh.

While Commander Purnendu Tiwari has been released from prison along with others, he is yet to land in India with sources indicating his arrival by next week.

“As you know, all eight Indian nationals who were involved in the Dahra Global case have been released. Seven of them have returned to India,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Randhir Jaiswal said while addressing a weekly media briefing on Thursday.

“The eighth Indian national has certain requirements to fulfill, he will return as and when those are completed,” he added.

The spokesperson did not elaborate on the requirements that Commander Tiwari needed to fulfill to ensure his return to India. Earlier, Commander Tiwari’s cousin, Dr. Meetu Bhargava, had expressed her joy upon hearing the news of his release, which she said would not have been possible without Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help.

The MEA spokesperson also confirmed that the first group of civilian crew replacing Indian troops has reached Maldives.

“The first team of technical personnel to operate the advanced light helicopter at Gan has reached Maldives. It will replace the existing personnel that were until now operating it,” Jaiswal said in response to a question.

“That is where it is as far as the core group meeting is concerned. We will have more details later,” he added.

In a statement released on Monday, the Maldives’ Ministry of Defence said: “The civilian crew who will operate the helicopter in place of the Indian troops currently stationed in Seenu Gan (Addu city) has arrived in Maldives this evening.”

As of now, there are close to 80 Indian military personnel in the island nation to operate two Indian helicopters and an aircraft.

The Maldivian defence ministry also stated that the helicopter stationed at Kadhdhoo Airport would be returned to India for maintenance, adding that a replacement helicopter would arrive aboard an Indian warship.

Maldives’ pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu promised to remove Indian troops from the island nation after winning the country’s presidential election in November 2023.

Earlier this month, he said the first group of Indian military personnel will be sent back before March 10, while the remaining will be withdrawn by May 10.(Agency)




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