India, Qatar sign seven agreements to strengthen ties

Published June 5, 2016
Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al -Thani, front right, receives Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP
Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al -Thani, front right, receives Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP

DUBAI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his first official visit to gas-rich Qatar where he met the Gulf country's leaders on Sunday to discuss economic ties.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs's Twitter Page, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP
Indian Ministry of External Affairs's Twitter Page, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP

Modi and Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who visited India in March 2015, signed seven agreements to strengthen ties, according to the official Twitter account of India's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vikas Swarup.

Modi also met Qatari businessmen and encouraged them to invest more in India, calling it "a land of opportunity".

Qatar is one of the world's largest suppliers of liquefied natural gas. Qatari media says it supplies India with more than 85 per cent of its gas needs.

The Indian Embassy says bilateral trade reached $15.7 billion in 2014- 2015, though just around $1bn of that constituted Indian exports to Qatar. Since 2010, India has been purchasing 7.5 million tons of LNG every year from Qatar.

Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, right, receives Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP
Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, right, receives Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Doha, Qatar. ─ AP

The Qatar Investment Authority has several large-scale investments in India, including a more than $1bn stake in telecommunications company Bharati Airtel.

Qatar Airways has expressed interest in expanding its routes to India and in buying a stake in budget airline IndiGo.

Modi arrived on Saturday and met with Indian labourers that evening, telling them he is aware of the conditions they face in Qatar. Modi, who is active on Twitter, posted photos of himself dining and chatting with the workers.

"If you have some issues on changing some rules and regulations, I will work with you all to bring about these changes," Modi told the workers.

There are more than a half-million Indians living in Qatar, many working lower paying construction jobs and building stadiums that will host the 2022 World Cup. Foreigners account for roughly 90pc of the 2.5m people living in Qatar.

An Amnesty International report this year found that migrant labourers face abuse that in some cases amounts to forced labour.

The report said workers reported living in squalid conditions, salary payments being withheld for months and having their passports confiscated by sponsoring employees.

Opinion

Editorial

Spy games
Updated 02 Oct, 2022

Spy games

The audios leaked so far appear to have been carefully curated: they apply pressure but do not do major damage.
‘Geopolitical football’
02 Oct, 2022

‘Geopolitical football’

THE US-China rivalry is by all measures one of the globe’s most dangerous competitions for power and influence. ...
Fuel price reduction
02 Oct, 2022

Fuel price reduction

ISHAQ Dar is back; so are his signature policies. The reduction of a little over 5pc in fuel prices announced by him...
Untruths and politics
Updated 01 Oct, 2022

Untruths and politics

It would arguably be in the national interest for the Supreme Court to take up the cipher and settle the matter.
Farmers’ protest
01 Oct, 2022

Farmers’ protest

SEVERAL hundred farmers have converged on Islamabad for the last three days to protest against the soaring costs of...
Dasht-i-Barchi bombing
01 Oct, 2022

Dasht-i-Barchi bombing

ON Friday morning, Kabul’s Dasht-i-Barchi neighbourhood was rocked by a terrorist attack targeting an educational...