PM Modi holds talks with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a bilateral meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha, on February 15, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a bilateral meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha, on February 15, 2024
| Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held talks with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani with a focus on shoring up bilateral ties, days after Qatar freed eight former Indian Navy personnel who were sentenced to death after being arrested in August 2022.

Mr. Modi arrived in this Qatari capital city last night after concluding a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Modi met Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who is Qatar’s foreign minister as well.

“The two leaders exchanged views on expanding bilateral cooperation in sectors such as trade, investment, energy, finance, and technology,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

“They also discussed recent regional developments in West Asia and emphasized the importance of upholding peace and stability in the region and beyond,” it said.

Following the meeting, the Qatari prime minister hosted a dinner for Mr. Modi.

The Indian prime minister’s second visit to Qatar came days after Qatar released the Indians.

The Navy veterans were on October 26 given death sentences by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. The Court of Appeal in the Gulf nation on December 28 commuted the capital punishment and sentenced them to jail terms for varying durations.

In December, Prime Minister Modi met the Qatari Amir on the sidelines of the COP28 Summit in Dubai and discussed the “well-being of the Indian community” in Qatar.

The former Indian Navy personnel apparently faced charges of espionage, but neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against them public.

The trade and energy ties between India and Qatar are on an upswing.

Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for over 48 per cent of India’s global LNG imports.

India’s Petronet has renewed a contract to buy 7.5 million tonnes of LNG from Qatar annually from 2029 for 20 years and it is being billed as the largest-ever extension of super-chilled fuel in the world.

The original 25-year deal was signed in 1999 and supplies started in 2004.

India-Qatar cooperation has been steadily growing in diverse sectors over the last few years.

PM Modi paid his first visit to Doha in June 2016.

The visit provided an opportunity to both sides to engage at the highest level and impart fresh momentum to the bilateral ties. It was the highest-level visit from India to Qatar since the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008.

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