PM reaches energy-rich Qatar, to focus on hydrocarbons
Modi will hold detailed talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and address the business community of Qatar, a country which is India’s largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65 per cent of the country’s total imports last financial year.
On his arrival, Modi was warmly received by Qatar’s Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani at the airport. “Reached Doha. India attaches great priority to strong ties with Qatar & my visit seeks to expand bilateral ties between our nations,” he tweeted on his arrival.
“I look forward to the various programs that will enhance economic & people-to-people ties between India & Qatar,” he said in another tweet. He also tweeted some messages in Arabic language. Modi will hold detailed talks with the Emir of Qatar on Sunday on a range of bilateral issues as well as regional and international matters of mutual concern.
The discussions are expected to focus on energy but various other aspects of the relationship will also come up during the talks, sources said here on Saturday.
Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 exceeding $15 billion. Qatar is also one of India’s key sources of crude oil. At present, a number of Indian companies are involved in construction activities related to the FIFA World Cup being hosted by Qatar in 2022. Modi, who is here on a two-day trip, will also address the Indian workers while visiting a labour camp here.
The Indian diaspora of over 6,30,000 form the largest expatriate community in Qatar and constitutes a substantial percentage of the country s population.The Prime Minister has been focusing on improving ties with the Gulf region which is crucial for India’s energy security. He has already visited United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Qatar in the last eight years. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Doha in 2008.
“India’s historical and close relations with Qatar are marked by mutually beneficial commercial exchanges and extensive people-to-people contacts,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said ahead of the visit. From here, the Prime Minister will travel to Switzerland on his way to the USA.