Qatar diplomatic crisis not a challenge for India, says Sushma Swaraj

This post was originally published on 6 June 2017.

India will not be impacted by some Gulf countries cutting off diplomatic ties with Qatar, India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said.

Swaraj said India was trying to find out if any of its nationals is adversely impacted due to the development.

“There is no challenge arising out of this for us. This is an internal matter of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council Council). Our only concern is about Indians there. We are trying to find out if any Indians are stuck there,” she told reporters.

She expressed hope that things will get normal within the GCC as such things have happened in the past as well.

Kerala CM requests Govt to ensure NRI safety

In letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the Centre’s intervention to ensure safety of 6.5 lakh Indians, including Keralites, residing in Qatar.

“As you are aware millions of Indians are working in countries in the Middle East and therefore the geo-political developments in the region have raised deep concerns among the people in the state since each family has at least one family member or a relative in the region,” he said.
There are about 6.5 lakh Indians in Qatar, of which nearly three lakh people hail from Kerala, Vijayan said, expressing concern on their safety and employment in Qatar.

“I would like to place on record the full support of our state to the considered stance that Union government would take on the issue, given the complexities involved,” he said.

Vijayan also wanted the Indian Embassy in Doha to be “suitably empowered” to respond presciently to the concerns of the Indian community in the country.

India-Qatar bilateral relations

India and Qatar have maintained strong defence and economic ties. They signed a Maritime Defence Agreement to counter extremism in 2008.

India is also Qatar’s third largest export destination and is ranked 10th in imports. Total bilateral trade touched $15.67 billion in 2014-15, crossing the billion-dollar mark for the first time.

While India imports oil and gas from Qatar, it exports iron, steel, plastic, construction materials, electrical and electronic goods, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, diamonds, rubber, legumes, spices and cereals.

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