Explained International

Modi Impact – Countries that Released Indian Prisoners in Last 5 Years as Goodwill Gesture

Indian Prisoners Released

The King of Bahrain has announced to pardon 250 Indian prisoners in a humanitarian gesture. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked the Bahrain government for the royal pardon. He has expressed his gratitude to the royal family of Bahrain for their kindness and compassionate decision.

But, is it the first time that a country has pardoned Indian prisoners serving sentence in its territory? No, many other countries have done the same thing especially after Prime Minister Modi has come to power. Pardoning prisoners is a long-established tradition in the world. But it is not difficult to understand that the global standing of a country has a strong correlation with number of prisoners getting released.


Pakistan has released 150 Indian prisoners held for crossing the border in a goodwill gesture before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had come to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi in 2014.

Then, this had set the ball rolling.

In December 2018, the former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed the Lok Sabha that as many as 1,557 Indians have been released from Pakistan whereas a total of 318 Pakistanis were freed from Indian jails in the last four years.

Sri Lanka

As many as 86 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters are set to be released as a goodwill gesture to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, reported Live Mint. Before this gesture, in November 2014, the Sri Lanka government had released 5 Indians who were serving death sentences in the island country.


In a special gesture after the visit of PM Modi, Qatar had released 23 Indian prisoners. PM Modi, expressing his gratitude to the Qatari government, had tweeted, “A special gesture to mark the start of a special month…The Government of Qatar releases 23 prisoners, who will return home to India.”


According to India’s Embassy in Kuwait City, the Emir of Kuwait has freed 22 Indian prisoners and commuted the sentences of 97 others lodged in the Arab country’s jails, reported Economic Times. The pardon to a total of 119 Indians was in addition to the 15 Indian prisoners whose death sentence had also been commuted to life imprisonment.

Saudi Arabia

PM Modi has taken bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia to a different level altogether. In fact, Saudi King had conferred PM Modi with King Abdulaziz Sash award, country’s highest civilian honour.

One may argue that the release of Indian prisoners from foreign countries is not something that started after PM Modi took over. But one can’t deny the fact that the numbers of Indian prisoners getting released have significantly increased after 2014.