03 Dec 2016 18:03 IST

India urges Qatar to move beyond ‘buyer-seller’ relationship

Leaders discuss enhancing cooperation in defence and security; sign five agreements

India and Qatar have vowed to expand bilateral ties in the field of energy even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to take the relationship beyong the buyer-seller level to increased joint ventures, research and development.

During a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani here on Saturday, both sides decided that “we should go beyond the buyer-seller relationship to include joint ventures, joint research and development and joint exploration,” sources said.

During the meeting, Indian companies said they were ready to invest in both upstream and downstream projects in Qatar in the hydrocarbon sector.

The Qatari PM arrived in New Delhi on Friday evening. On Saturday, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval called on him, following which he met Modi.

Trade, investment

The delegation-level talks reviewed India-Qatar relations in depth, in particular on the follow-up of the landmark decisions taken during PM Modi’s visit to Qatar in June 2016.

PM Modi said that the visit of the Prime Minister of Qatar showed the growing bilateral ties with Qatar, which India has always regarded as a valued partner. The two leaders discussed cooperation in various sectors.

Both sides also acknowledged that the current level of trade and investment was much below potential. PM Modi highlighted the tremendous opportunities available for Qatari investment in India’s infrastructure and energy sectors.

The two leaders identified civil aviation as a priority sector for enhancing cooperation.

Modi recalled that India imports 8 million tonnes of urea annually and said that India would seek a long-term arrangement with Qatar for the supply of urea. India could also meet Qatari needs in the area of food security.

The Qatari PM invited India’s participation in infrastructure and investment opportunities coming up in the wake of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. He also welcomed Indian investment in the port sector of Qatar.

The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation in defence and security, in particular in cyber security on which an MoU was signed today. They agreed on joint action to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.

MoUs signed

They discussed the regional situation, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

India and Qatar also signed five agreements in areas such as visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports; technical cooperation in cyber space and combating cyber crime, letter of intent regarding negotiations on an agreement on grant of e-visa for businessmen and tourists, and an MoU between Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar & CII.

Additionally, another MoU aimed at encouraging greater collaboration and exchange in the field of national ports management was also signed.

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