[Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Enir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, at the delegation level talks, at Emiri Diwan, in Doha, Qatar on June 05, 2016.]
Doha: India and Qatar on Sunday signed seven agreements, including on investment and tourism promotion, as the two sides discussed ways to take bilateral ties beyond the current normal trading relationship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led delegation-level talks with the Qatari leadrship, as well as holding restricted meetings with Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and Qatar Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
“The main issues that were discussed, first of course, the Indian community’s welfare. The Prime Minister thanked them (the Qatari leadership) for taking care of them (Indian community) plus their security and their general welfare,” Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a media briefing here following the day’s official engagements.
“Second issue of critical importance was how we could partner together in investments and go beyond this trading relationship,” Sinha said.
Though Qatar was the largest source of LNG for India, both sides felt that the time has come to move beyond the trading relationship and get into strategic investments, he said.
“So a lot of sectors were discussed,” he said.
At the end of wide-ranging talks, Modi had with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the leadership here, the two sides also highlighted the need to "isolate" the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken.
Modi also took up with the Qatari leadership the issue of the welfare of Indian community, which is about 6.5 lakh strong, and received assurance about their security.
With Qatar being the largest source of India's LNG needs, the two sides agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy, covering the areas of training and human resources development and cooperation in research and development and through promotion of joint ventures in petrochemical complexes and cooperation in joint exploration in India and other countries.
The Indian side highlighted the interest of its energy companies to pursue opportunities of mutual interest in Qatar, with Qatar Petroleum and other companies, in order to jointly explore new fields as well as develop discovered oil and gas assets and exploit the existing resources of natural gas and crude oil in Qatar.
Modi, before winding up his two-day visit here, expressed confidence that the bilateral relations will get "new strength" through the agreements signed.
On the political front, according to the Secretary, both sides expressed happiness at the level of high-level visits with Modi coming to Qatar just 14 months after the Emir’s visit to India.
“But both sides felt that there is a need to raise the level of annual consultation and so in principle we have decided to form what we call high-level committee both for follow-up and review as well as for charting the path forward,” Sinha said.