India keen on joint development of oil, gas blocks in Qatar
India on Sunday evinced interest in joint exploration of new oil and gas fields as well development of discovered assets in the energy-rich Qatar.
India also invited the Gulf nation to invest in the country’s exploration and production sector by bidding for the blocks under the new ‘Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing’ Policy and take part in disinvestment of Indian PSUs. Besides, an MoU was signed with Qatar Investment Authority for facilitating Qatari investment in the Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.
India “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 development of discovered oil and gas assets and exploit the existing resources of natural gas and crude oil in Qatar”, a joint statement said after official talks of the two countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held wide-ranging talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatari leaders here. Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG and LPG to India. India invited Qatar to participate in the second phase of the strategic reserves storage facility being created in India, the statement said.
Besides the leaders deliberated upon the need for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the financial services sector, including banking, insurance and capital markets. “They decided to expand cooperation between the financial institutions of the two countries like Securities and Exchange Board of India and the respective central banks,” the statement said.
The two sides also discussed various avenues for Qatari investments in India, particularly in different asset classes and various infrastructure sectors as well as disinvestment of Indian PSUs.
The leaders agreed to increase the level of participation in infrastructure projects in both countries.
An MoU was also signed between Qatar Investment Authority and External Affairs Ministry for investment in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund between the two countries that would facilitate foreign investment from the gas-rich Gulf state, the statement said.
The two countries agreed on regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities, the statement said. The two sides also 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 statement said.
To promote business-to-business and tourism linkages, they also agreed to put in place appropriate mechanism for expeditious grant of visas to businessmen and tourists of the two countries, it said. With the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, both sides agreed upon the need to further strengthen trade ties, particularly through diversifying the trade basket.
“The Qatari side welcomed the participation of Indian companies in the infrastructure development projects in Qatar in preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup and the development plans under “Vision 2030 for Qatar,” it said. The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean regions, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.
During the meeting, Modi highlighted the major initiatives taken by the government for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ through simplification and rationalisation of existing rules and relaxing of foreign direct investment caps in key areas, including railways, defence and insurance.