India’s Strategic Diplomacy: Trade Leverage Leads to Release of 8 Detained Personnel from Qatar

The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India.

The Indian men were arrested by Qatari authorities in August 2022 and kept in detention without specifying the crimes committed by them. The Indian nationals, months later, faced charges filed on March 25, 2023, and underwent legal proceedings according to Qatari law.

In November, the eight Indian sailors who worked for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services were handed a death penalty. At the time, New Delhi expressed shock over the verdict and vowed to explore all legal options to secure the release of its citizens.

In December, a Qatar court decided to reduce the death sentences handed to eight Indian nationals who were convicted in connection with an alleged espionage case. The decision came after the acceptance of an appeal by the Indian government.

Following this the relations between Qatar and India nosedived and India started looking for import diversification strategy for natural gas from Russia, USA, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and Mozambique.

Last week Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, in a statement said it has signed a pact with QatarEnergy to extend the deal to buy 7.5 million tonne a year of gas for producing electricity, making fertilizers and converting it into CNG.

The above development reveals India leveraging its trade ties to enhance its stature globally and forcing Qatar to release the eight Indian nationals through exploring alternative gas suppliers in Africa.

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