Qatar and India signed a raft of agreements and memoranda of understanding following a round of official talks chaired by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Emiri Diwan yesterday.
HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and several Qatari ministers and the official delegation accompanying the Indian premier attended the talks.
The talks dealt with close historic relations between Qatar and India and ways to further develop and strengthen them, as well as promote co-operation in various areas, particularly in trade, economy, investment, energy and industry sectors.
Co-operation on regional and international issues
The two sides agreed to form a higher strategic committee to co-ordinate and follow up aspects of co-operation between the two countries on regional and international issues of common concern, and to develop an appropriate mechanism to speed up the procedures of granting business and tourism visas for citizens of both countries.
- The two sides also exchanged views on the latest developments in the Middle East, mainly in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, and stressed the need to reach peaceful solutions to end the conflicts and ensure security and peace.
- They also stressed the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to work together in this area.
Signing of agreements
Following the talks, HH the Emir and the Indian prime minister witnessed the signing of a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU) between the two countries.
- According to one memorandum of understanding (MoU), Qatar will invest in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
- Another MoU was signed between India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Qatar’s National Qualifications Authority/Supreme Educational Council, on co-operation in skill development and recognition of qualifications.
- A third MoU calls for co-operation in tourism between the two countries.
- Another MoU was signed on co-operation between India and Qatar in the field of health.
- A fifth MoU was signed between Finance Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) and the Qatar Financial Information Unit (QFIU). The MoU facilitates exchange of information relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.
- An agreement was signed on co-operation and mutual assistance in customs matters.
- A first executive programme for MoU in the field of youth and sports between the two countries was also signed.
Modi accorded official reception
Earlier on arrival at the Emiri Diwan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded an official reception ceremony.
Following the agreement-signing ceremony, HH the Emir hosted a luncheon banquet in honour of Prime Minister Modi and the accompanying delegation.
At the outset, Modi personally extended greetings to the Emir, who celebrated his 36th birthday two days back. The Prime Minister had called him on that day to convey the greetings over the phone.
“The full splendour of an Arab welcome as PM @narendramodi receives ceremonial honours at Emiri Diwan in Doha,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a photo.
Cooperation in energy is expected to be high on the agenda of the talks that were to cover various aspects of the relationship.
Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 standing at USD 15.67 billion. Qatar is also one of India’s key sources of crude oil.
Modi left Doha yesterday concluding his two-day visit to Qatar. The Indian premier and the accompanying delegation were seen off upon departure at Hamad International Airport by HE the Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi, Qatar’s ambassador to India, Ahmed Ibrahim Abdullah al-Abdullah, and India’s ambassador to Qatar, Sanjeev Arora.