This post was originally published on 20 May 2016.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive on an official visit to Qatar on June 4-5 at the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, it was announced on Friday.
This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to Qatar in eight years since the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh to Doha in 2008.
“There has been regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits in the recent past,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here.
“The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim had visited India in March 2015. Previously, the then Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani had visited India in 1999, 2005 and 2012,” he said.
India has had historical and close relations with Qatar and these are marked by mutually beneficial commercial exchanges and extensive people-to-people contacts.
“Qatar is an important trading partner for us in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 exceeding $15 billion,” Swarup said.
“It is our largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65 percent of our total imports in 2015-16. It was also one of our key sources of crude oil.”
At 630,000, Indians form the largest expatriate community in Qatar.
“Their positive contribution in the progress and development of their host country is well recognised,” the spokesperson said.
He added that during the visit, the prime minister and the emir of Qatar will hold discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.