Homeward bound: On the release of the eight former Indian naval personnel from Qatar

Quiet diplomacy without brinkmanship helped India’s case in Qatar

The Qatar case is a timely reminder of the importance of quiet diplomacy at a time of brinkmanship and geopolitical conflict, particularly when it comes to relationships where so much else is at stake. For India, Qatar is an important West Asian power, with increased heft during the Israel-Gaza conflict as an important interlocutor between the West and Hamas. For Qatar, ties with India are historic and dependable, consistent even when Qatar was boycotted by its Gulf neighbours some years ago. Qatar supplies India with a third of its natural gas import needs, and the signing of a $78 billion LNG deal last week may have been an early sign that the deal for the prisoners’ release had been sealed by then. More than 8,00,000 Indians provide important services to Qatar and bring in critical remittance earnings for India. New Delhi’s decision not to seek international intervention, as it did in the case of former naval commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been convicted of espionage and terror charges in Pakistan, nor to counter Qatar’s charges with the kind of harsh diplomatic countermeasures seen in the aftermath of the Nijjar assassination case in Canada, eventually provided an outcome satisfactory for all.