Jaishankar meets Qatari FM, discusses Afghanistan

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Along with fruitful discussions, both leaders unveiled the foundation stone of the new Indian Embassy complex in Doha, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday met his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani and exchanged views on global and regional developments, including Afghanistan.

The two leaders also discussed political, economic, digital and security partnerships.

“Held productive talks with DPM and FM of Qatar @MBA_AlThani. Discussed our broad-based political, economic, digital and security partnership. Appreciate the interest in expanding investment and trade. Thank Qatari authorities for the support extended to the Indian community,” tweeted Jaishankar.

“Exchanged views on global and regional developments, including Afghanistan,” added the Indian Foreign Minister.

Unveiling of the foundation stone of the new Embassy complex in Doha

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated drastically since the Taliban took control of Kabul last year in mid-August.

A combination of a suspension of foreign aid, the freezing of Afghan government assets, and international sanctions on the Taliban have plunged the country, already suffering from high poverty levels, into a full-blown economic crisis.

“Met with HE @DrSJaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, and had a fruitful discussion on ways to develop bilateral relations in various fields. We also discussed the latest regional developments and exchanged views on a number of issues of common interest,” tweeted Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Al Thani.

Along with fruitful discussions, both leaders unveiled the foundation stone of the new Indian Embassy complex in Doha.

“Unveiled the foundation stone of the new Embassy complex in Doha. Thank DPM and FM @MBA_AlThani_for gracing the occasion. Confident that the new chancery complex will meet the aspirations of the Indian community in Qatar,” tweeted Jaishankar.

India’s bilateral trade with Qatar in 2020-21 was $9.21 billion. India’s export to Qatar during 2020-21 was $1.28 billion and imports were $7.93 billion. Qatar’s key exports to India include LNG, LPG, chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, and aluminium articles, while India’s key exports to Qatar include cereals, copper articles, iron and steel articles, vegetables, fruits, spices, and processed food products, electrical and other machinery, plastic products, construction material, textiles & garments, chemicals, precious stones and rubber, as per the Ministry of External Affairs.

India is among the top three largest export destinations for Qatar (Japan and South Korea being the other two) and is also among the top three sources of Qatar’s imports, along with China and Japan. Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for over 50 per cent of India’s global LNG imports.

Besides LNG, India also imports ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea and polyethylene from Qatar. Therefore, the balance of trade continues to be heavily in Qatar’s favour.

However, there has been a substantial growth in India’s exports to Qatar in the last few years.

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According to the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), there are over 6,000 big and small Indian companies operating in Qatar. Indian companies are today pursuing collaborations in various sectors like infrastructure, communications and information technology, energy and other areas in Qatar.

The extensive infrastructure development in Qatar as it prepares to host the prestigious FIFA World Cup in 2022 and attain its National Vision 2030 objective.

Indian companies have invested about $450 million in Qatar, according to a statement by Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).

Indian companies from across sectors have been present in Qatar for over several years and among them are Larsen & Toubro, Voltas, Shapoorji Pallonji, Wipro, TCS and Tech Mahindra.