Why Narendra Modi government unable to seek release of ex-Navy personnel in Qatari detention: Congress’s Jairam Ramesh


NEW DELHI: The Congress on Thursday raised concerns over the detention of eight former Navy personnel by Qatar and sought to know from the government why it could not seek their release even after seven months.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a statement that even though the Qatari national arrested along with the former Naval personnel has been released, why have the Indian authorities not been able to secure the release of Indians? ”Why is the Indian government still unable to either ascertain the facts of the case or to reassure the ex-naval personnel and their families that justice will be done,” he asked.

Ramesh reminded the government that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had in Parliament termed it a ”very sensitive case” and said that the interest of the detained is ”foremost in our minds… We assure, they are our priority”.

Yet, while an Omani national who was arrested along with the ex-Navy personnel was released in November, the Indian citizens remain in detention, the Congress leader said.

”Is the prime minister reluctant to put pressure on Qatar because its sovereign wealth fund is a major investor in Adani Electricity, Mumbai? Is that why the relatives of the imprisoned ex-naval personnel are running from pillar to post for answers? ”Given the time elapsed, the Congress party urges the government to explain to the families and the people of India why our ex-servicemen are being treated in this manner,” Ramesh said in his statement.

Sharing the statement on Twitter, he said, ”A country with which ‘Modani’ has a special relationship. Why has this relationship not helped the ex-servicemen so far?” Ramesh said that Qatari authorities August 30 last year arrested eight retired Indian Navy personnel who had been involved in training the Qatari Emiri Naval Force.

The eight have reportedly been placed in solitary confinement, he noted, adding the Indian government was neither informed of the arrests nor given any information on the charges against those men.

The Congress leader said the Modi government has invested greatly in the India-Qatar relationship. India is Qatar’s third largest export market, he said. The seven-lakh-strong Indian diaspora comprises a quarter of the population of Qatar and comprises blue-collar workers as well as professionals in various spheres. PM Modi visited Doha in 2016 where he addressed the Indian diaspora and conveyed ”sincere thanks” to the Qatari leadership for hosting the Indian community and for ensuring their continued welfare and safety, Ramesh noted.

He said Jaishankar has also invested greatly in the bilateral relationship, making no less than four visits to Qatar in the last three years.

During these trips, he called on the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and other senior Qatari leaders. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is also known to be a regular visitor, Ramesh added.


Source: Press Trust of India

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