Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha on Thursday, less than four days after eight Navy veterans, earlier sentenced to death by the Gulf nation, returned home following deft diplomatic moves and personal equation between the two leaders.

Modi and Al Thani among other issues discussed collaboration in futuristic sectors including space and urban infrastructure as India seeks to open new vistas of cooperation with the Gulf states in the extended neighbourhood. Modi also met Father Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and Qatar’s PM during his less than 24 hours visit to Doha.

The Prime Minister was given a ceremonial welcome at the Emiri Palace on Wednesday. Thereafter, both sides held delegation-level and restricted talks. The discussions covered a wide array of topics including economic cooperation, investments, energy partnership, space collaboration, urban infrastructure, cultural bonds and people-to-people ties, officials said.

The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and global issues including the Israel-Palestine conflict amid Qatar’s role in facilitating a ceasefire between the two warring parties.

Modi has invited Emir to pay an early visit to India. The Emir expressed appreciation for India’s role as a valued partner in the Gulf region.

On his arrival in Doha on Wednesday night Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani hosted Modi for dinner.The two leaders exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade, investment, energy, finance, and technology. They also discussed recent regional developments in West Asia and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability in the region and beyond, officials said.The release of eight Navy veterans was a major diplomatic triumph for India. Earlier the capital punishment was commuted to an extended prison term following diplomatic intervention by the Modi government.

Qatar is home to 8.4 lakh Indian diaspora. India signed a key deal with Qatar for the import of LNG a few days ago, ensuring that Qatar will play a critical role in India’s transition to a gas-based economy.

India’s bilateral trade with Qatar in 2021-22 was $ 15.03 billion. India’s export to Qatar during 2021-22 was $ 1.83 billion and India’s import from Qatar was US$ 13.19 billion. Qatar’s key exports to India include LNG, LPG, chemicals and petrochemicals and fertilisers. India’s key exports to Qatar include cereals, copper articles, iron and steel articles, vegetables, fruits, spices, and processed food products.

It may be recalled that Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) sent Covid medical relief material to India for combating the second wave of Covid-19 by special Emiri Air force plane. Qatar Airways transported medical aid from across the globe to India, free of charge. Qatar Petroleum (QP) filled Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) in cryogenic tankers which were shipped through various Indian Naval ships to India.

dipanjanroy.chaudhury@timesgroup.com

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