New momentum in India’s ties with Qatar

New momentum in India’s ties with Qatar

Indian foreign minister Dr. S Jaishankar’s visit to Doha could translate into heightened engagements on trade, investments and security as the already existing ties have received a fresh boost.

From being the single largest resident expatriate group to building one of the icons of Qatar’s upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022, Indians occupy a pride of place in the Gulf state.

And that relationship received a fresh boost with the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar earlier this week.

During the visit, Dr Jaishankar called on the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and handed over a personal message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting him to visit India and thanking Qatar for taking care of the Indian community during Covid-19.

“The Emir accepted the invitation to visit India at an early date,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. “Called on HH @TamimBinHamad, Amir of Qatar. Handed over a personal communication from PM @narendramodi. Deeply value H.H.’s warm sentiments for Indian community. Impressed by his vision of taking our partnership to a new level,” Dr Jaishankar tweeted.

Also on the agenda of discussion were the contribution of the Indian community in Qatar, continued guidance on India-Qatar relations, and strengthening bilateral economic and security cooperation, the MEA said.

“Dr Jaishankar held detailed discussions with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. Both Ministers discussed ways to strengthen the multifaceted bilateral relationship in areas such as energy, trade, investment, food processing, healthcare, education, culture, defence and security. They agreed to maintain regular consultations and coordination on all issues of mutual interest at multilateral fora,” MEA officials said in a statement.

During the meetings, Dr Jaishankar also extended an invitation to the Qatari Foreign Minister to visit India for the first Joint Commission Meeting in 2021.

Indian foreign affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar reviewed one of the FIFA World Cup venues which had been constructed by Indian firm Larsen & Toubro. Indian expatriates in Qatar have been a key component of Qatar’s rapid economic progress.
Indian foreign affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar reviewed one of the FIFA World Cup venues which had been constructed by Indian firm Larsen & Toubro. Indian expatriates in Qatar have been a key component of Qatar’s rapid economic progress.

While interacting with business leaders from Qatar, including the Chairmen and board members of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatar Businessmen Association, Dr Jaishankar appreciated their commitment for business partnerships with India and briefed them about new trade and investment opportunities arising out of PM Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.

Later, accompanied by India’s ambassador in Qatar Deepak Mittal, Dr Jaishankar visited the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium – one of the 2022 FIFA World Cup venues – built by Indian construction giant Larsen & Toubro.

Speaking about the project, Hassan Al Thawadi, Chairman of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 organising committee, said: “Qatar and India have shared a close relationship for centuries, through trade, culture, and people-to-people ties, and the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, built by Larsen & Toubro, is a symbol of this relationship and our shared history. The stadium is also a representation of modern, cosmopolitan Qatar, where the Indian community is the single largest resident expatriate group and is an important contributor toward Qatar’s rapid economic development.”

Home to more than 700,000 Indians, Qatar’s bilateral trade with India was valued at $10.95 billion in 2019-20, according to official data. “Both sides remain committed to intensify bilateral cooperation in various fields including energy and investments. India and Qatar have also worked together to face the COVID-19 pandemic and coordinated smooth operation of flights under an air bubble arrangement,” the MEA added.

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