Intelligence sources have told ThePrint that eight former Navy officers imprisoned by Qatar are accused of spying on the emirate’s super-secret submarine programme.
Eight former Indian Navy personnel being tried in Qatar have been accused of spying on the oil-rich kingdom’s secretive programme to obtain Italian-made, high-tech submarines coated with metamaterials that make their detection by adversaries difficult, intelligence sources have told ThePrint.
Legal proceedings against the eight officers were reported to have begun on 29 March, and the next hearing is scheduled for May.
Fincantieri SpA, a Trieste-based shipbuilding firm, was contracted to deliver two submarines in 2021, making the emirate the first Arab state to operate undersea vehicles. Qatar had also placed orders for four corvettes and a helicopter carrier, as part of a major naval buildup.
“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 ThePrint on condition of anonymity. “But the Qataris are insisting that intelligence on their submarine programme was passed on to Israel.”
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The Qatar State Security, the state intelligence agency, claimed to have intercepted electronic communications establishing that the naval officers were spying on the submarine programme, the officer further said. The purported evidence, he added, has not been shared with India.
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