Qatar on Thursday sentenced eight Indian navy veterans to death after convicting them of spying on Qatar's submarine programme on behalf of Israel, The Indian Express reported.
The news was met with 'shock' in India's capital, New Delhi, which said that they would take up the matter with Qatari authorities.
Qatari authorities busted the eight-member cell last year in August, which comprised former Indian Navy servicemen. They were all working for a firm called 'AlDahra Company' and Dahra Global Technologies. The company provided Qatari security services training and reportedly advised Doha on its submarine programme.
Of the company's 75 employees, most were Indian Navy veterans. The company shut down in May this year. When the company's CEO went to Doha after the arrests, he too was detained for two months before securing bail.
The men had served at various levels in the Indian navy before retiring, with some having the experience of commanded warships. They were identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vashisht, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.
In an official statement, India's Ministry of External Affairs said that they have been following the matter closely.
"We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities," the statement added.