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‘EAM Jaishankar made a promise’: What the wife of Navy veteran freed by Qatar said

The wife of one of the ex-Indian Navy personnel freed by Qatar said that external affairs minister S Jaishankar had promised to bring them back to India and the Narendra Modi government kept its promise.

Retired Indian Navy captain Saurabh Vashishtha, who returned to India on Monday after being released from a Qatar jail, being welcomed by his family members upon his arrival at his home, in Dehradun, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024.(PTI)

In a major diplomatic breakthrough, India secured the release of eight jailed former Navy personnel and seven of them returned home on Monday nearly three-and-half months after they were handed death sentences by a Qatari court, subsequently commuted to varying jail terms.

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Mansa Vashisht, wife of Captain Saurabh Vashisht, recalled the time when her husband, along with seven others, were sentenced to death by a Qatari court.

“It is difficult for me to describe the time. There was a lot of uncertainty. I was staying in Doha the whole time and was allowed to meet him for a very short time,” she told PTI.

“When we met External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, he made a promise back then to bring them all back and they (the government) kept their promise. I would like to thank the government for bringing my husband back,” she added.

Captain Saurabh Vashisht credited the government of India for “achieving such impossible feat.”

“Due to the personal intervention of PM Modi with Qatar government, this day has come, and I am standing here in Dehradun with my family,” a visibly relieved Vashisht added.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself constantly supervised all the developments in the case and has never shied away from any initiatives that would ensure the return of the Indians. The seven Indian nationals reached Delhi on Monday by a private airline at around 2:35am. The foreign secretary, without elaborating, said New Delhi continues to work with the Qatari government to ensure the return of the eighth Indian quickly.

The eight nationals are: Captains Navtej Gill and Saurabh Vasisht, Commanders Purnendu Tiwari, Amit Nagpal, SK Gupta, BK Verma, and Sugunakar Pakala, and sailor Ragesh. Commander Tiwari could not return due to some pending paper work, people familiar with the matter said.

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