Former Indian Navy Officers in Custody in Qatar – Urgent Action Needed

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Eight former Indian Navy officers are currently in custody in Qatar while working with a company that provides training and other services to the Qatari Emiri Navy. Sources have indicated that the Indian Embassy in Doha is aware of the situation.

The incident was brought to light by a tweet from @DrMeetuBhargava, who stated that the veterans have been in “illegal custody/detention” in Doha for 57 days. The tweet also tagged the Prime Minister and several ministers, including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister, and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Puri.

The former Navy officers were employed by a company called Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, which is described as a “local business partner” of the Qatar defense, security, and other government agencies. The company’s key competencies include defense equipment operation and maintenance. The group CEO, Khamis Al Ajmi, is a retired Squadron Leader of the Royal Oman Air Force.

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 states that he commanded a minesweeper and a large amphibious warship during his service in the Indian Navy.

Details about the reasons for the men’s detention and the charges against them are not available. The men were granted a consular visit by officials from the Indian mission in Doha earlier this month, according to The Indian Express. Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, could not be reached for comment.

The company has impressive credentials posted on its website and has received praise from the Indian mission in Doha. Ambassador Deepak Mittal has commended the company for its work in building the capacities and capabilities of the Qatar Defence Forces, while Periasamy Kumaran, the previous ambassador, praised the company for effectively showcasing India’s defense capabilities and creating new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between the two countries.

Phone calls to numbers listed on the company website went unanswered. Nirupama Subramanian is National Editor (Strategic Affairs). She write…

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