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Indian Foreign Minister Meets Qatar’s PM

On a significant one-day state visit to Qatar, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar engaged in comprehensive discussions with the peninsular Arab country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. The high-level meeting, which took place in Doha on Sunday, aimed to strengthen the multifaceted bilateral relationship between the two nations, encompassing political, trade, investment, energy, technology, culture, and people-to-people ties. In addition to his role as Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed also serves as Qatar’s Foreign Minister, facilitating an in-depth exchange of views on  regional and global issues. Notably, the discussions included insights on the Gaza situation.

Following the meeting, EAM Jaishankar expressed his satisfaction and optimism about the outcomes. “Delighted to meet PM and FM of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Doha this afternoon. Conveyed the greetings and warm wishes of PM Narendra Modi to H.H. The Amir and him,” Jaishankar posted on X (formerly Twitter). He elaborated, “Reviewed our bilateral relationship focusing on political, trade, investment, energy, technology, culture and people-to-people ties. Exchanged views on regional and global issues. Appreciate his sharing insights on the Gaza situation.” This visit marks a pivotal moment in India-Qatar relations, coming just four-and-a-half months after the release of eight former Indian Navy personnel detained in Doha. The ex-officials had been sentenced to death following accusations of espionage on Qatar’s submarine program on behalf of Israel. Jaishankar’s arrival was warmly received at the airport by Chief of Protocol Ibrahim Fakhroo, reflecting the cordial nature of India-Qatar ties.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) highlighted the visit’s significance in its statement a day prior, emphasizing that it would “enable both sides to review various aspects of bilateral relations, including political, trade, investment, energy, security, cultural and people-to-people as well as the regional and international issues of mutual interest.” This is the second visit by an Indian leader to Qatar this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited in February to engage with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The MEA underscored the historic and friendly nature of India-Qatar relations, characterized by regular high-level exchanges.

Trade and economic cooperation remain central to the bilateral relationship. In 2022-23, the bilateral trade volume reached $18.77 billion, with India’s exports to Qatar amounting to $1.96 billion and imports from Qatar standing at $16.8 billion. Qatar is a critical supplier of LNG to India, contributing over 48% of India’s global LNG imports. Further enhancing economic ties, India and Qatar held the inaugural meeting of the Joint Task Force on Investment (JTFI) in New Delhi on June 6, 2024. This initiative is poised to elevate investment cooperation, fostering mutual economic growth. Defence cooperation is also a key pillar of the bilateral relationship, underscoring the strategic depth and shared interests between the two nations.

In his concluding remarks, EAM Jaishankar expressed his enthusiasm for the future of India-Qatar relations. “Look forward to the further enhancement of India-Qatar relations and continued dialogue on issues of mutual interest,” he said, setting a hopeful tone for the continued partnership and collaboration between the two countries.