Kwatra said the trip to Qatar is aimed at discussing ways to further “strengthen overall ties”.
“After completing his UAE visit on February 14, the PM will travel to Doha on February 14 afternoon. During the visit, PM Modi will hold bilateral with Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, the Emir of Qatar, and high dignitaries in Qatar … this will be the PM’s second visit to Qatar … strong bilateral trade between India and Qatar, currently stands at $20 billion,” the foreign secretary said.
8 former Navy personnel released
The announcement came hours after Qatar said it has released eight jailed former Indian Navy personnel — 46 days after their death sentences, pronounced last October, were commuted to jail terms of varying duration.
Seven of the men returned home early on Monday.
India appreciates the decision by the Emir of Qatar to enable the release and homecoming of the Indians, who were arrested in August 2022, the ministry of external affairs said in a statement on Monday.
The former Indian Navy personnel apparently faced charges of espionage but neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against them public.
“The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar,” the ministry said.
The eight nationals are: Captains (retired) Navtej Gill and Saurabh Vasisht, Commanders (retired) Purnendu Tiwari, Amit Nagpal, SK Gupta, BK Verma, and Sugunakar Pakala, and sailor Ragesh.
People familiar with the matter said Commander Tiwari stayed back in Doha and is likely to come back to India soon.
Big diplomatic win for India: BJP
BJP Spokesperson Shazia Ilmi said on Monday that the release of the eight jailed former Indian Navy personnel was a “big diplomatic win” for India.
“It seemed at one point of time it will be very difficult to make it happen. But they have come back safe and sound. That is great news for every Indian. It shows how much the words of the Indian foreign ministry and Prime Minister matter,” Ilmi said.
“It is a big diplomatic win for India. It shows how India has negotiated so well that we have our Navy veterans back,” she said.
(With inputs from agencies)