In a startling revelation, Qatar has accused eight Indian Navy officers of passing confidential information about its submarine program to Israel. According to a report in The Print, the officers have been detained in the Islamic country for the last eight months, and legal proceedings against them began on March 29.
India’s intelligence agencies have been trying to convince Qatar that its nationals were not involved in any hostile intelligence operations against the emirate. However, the Qataris remain adamant that the information was passed on to Israel.
“We’ve tried hard to convince our counterparts in Doha that India and its nationals were not involved in hostile intelligence operations against the emirate,” an intelligence officer told The Print. “But the Qataris are insisting that intelligence on the submarine program was passed on to Israel.”
The allegations have created a diplomatic row between India and Qatar, with the Indian government demanding the immediate release of the detained officers. India has also denied any involvement in espionage activities against Qatar.
The Indian Navy officers were reportedly in Qatar as part of a training exercise, and the allegations have come as a shock to India. The submarine program is considered to be a critical national security asset, and any breach of its confidentiality could have serious implications.
The Indian government has taken up the matter with the Qatari authorities and is hoping for a speedy resolution of the issue. The Indian Embassy in Qatar has been in touch with the detained officers and is providing them with necessary legal assistance.
The incident is likely to have an impact on the bilateral relationship between India and Qatar. India has been a key partner of Qatar in the region, and the two countries have enjoyed close economic and strategic ties.
However, the current situation is likely to strain the relationship, and it remains to be seen how the issue will be resolved.