India, Qatar sign 6 pacts to step up non-oil cooperation

26 Mar 2015

India and Qatar on Wednesday signed six agreements, extending bilateral ties to investments and mutual cooperation beyond oil and gas to other sectors of the economy.

Qatar will invest heavily in the country's infrastructure and technology sectors as the two countries take bilateral relations to the next level.

During a meeting here between  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir said he ''trusted'' the Indian economy and Modi's vision.

Qatar has identified certain projects in defence, railways and highways, where the energy-rich country intends to invest substantially, Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson in the ministry of external affairs said.

Qatar is also aiming at massive infrastructure development as it gears up to host the football World Cup in 2022. It has asked India to invest in its infrastructure overhaul.

The agreements include one on transfer of sentenced persons, under which, Indian prisoners convicted in Qatar can
be brought to India to serve the remaining part of their sentence and vice versa. At present, 96 Indians are lodged across various jails in Qatar

The two countries will cooperate in the field of information and communication technology, which provides for enhanced business opportunities for Indian IT industry in Qatar. Qatar has also embarked on an ambitious programme for overall development as part of it Qatar 2030 vision and has created a dedicated ministry of information and communication technology for capacity building in ICT.

An MoU signed between India's ministry of earth sciences and Qatar Meteorological Department for Scientific and Technical cooperation provides for cooperation in the field of atmospheric and ocean sciences, which would benefit capacity building in both the countries.

Diplomatic Institute of MOFA of Qatar and Foreign Service Institute, of India's ministry of external affairs will engage in exchange of trainees, students, faculty members and experts between India and Qatar to enhance their skills and improve the training programme in both the countries. Foreign Service Institute, MEA has signed MoU with several other countries for exchange of information on structure and contents of training programmes for diplomats.

Under an agreement for cooperation in the field of radio and television, the two countries will encourage regular exchange of radio and TV programmes and material between Prasar Bharati of Indiaand Qatar Media Cooperation.

Qatari News Agency and India's United News of India signed an agreement to enhance and develop bilateral cooperation in the field of exchange of English-language news on daily basis and free of charge.

Qatar is India's significant partner in the Gulf region meeting 86 per cent of its LNG needs. But its LNG is also the costliest source for Indian gas companies and consumers.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, minister for economy and commerce, Qatar said his country has several advantages which makes it an ideal partner for India as far as investment inflows are concerned.

''India and Qatar's economic ties now extend well beyond oil and gas,'' he said while addressing CII.

Two-way trade between India and Qatar stood at around $16 billion in last financial year.

The Emir, on a two-day trip to India, also met the vice president and the minister for petroleum and natural gas.

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