New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): Union Minister of State Rajkumar Ranjan Singh thanked PM Narendra Modi for the release of eight Indian Navy veterans who were detained by Qatar on espionage charges.

The MoS for the Ministry of External Affairs said that PM Modi is respected globally and he was able to ensure the safe return of Indian nationals through dialogue and diplomacy.

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Speaking to ANI, MoS Singh said, "Our Prime Minister Modi Ji is respected by many countries and India's reputation has also developed. For some reason, our citizens were arrested and gave them death sentences Our government appealed, convinced and finally, the problem was solved."

"We also thanked the Qatar authorities and welcomed the seven Indian nationals who have returned from Qatar. Even when a misunderstanding happened, our government was able to safely bring our citizens back home through dialogue," he added.

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In a major diplomatic triumph, the eight Indian Navy veterans, who were detained on espionage charges, were released by Qatar on Monday, after their death sentence was commuted earlier after New Delhi's diplomatic intervention.

The navy veterans after setting foot in their homeland after months of captivity, heaped praises on PM Modi, saying they wouldn't have been freed had it for the sustained diplomatic efforts at his behest to secure their release.

The men -- Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh -- were detained in August 2022.

Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.

On December 28, 2023, Qatar's Court of Appeal commuted the death penalty awarded to all eight men in October 2023.

The eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai and discussed bilateral partnership and the "well-being of the Indian community" living in Qatar. (ANI)

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