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Opinion

Trade and energy cooperation on the agenda of Jaishankar’s visit to Qatar

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Foreign Minister S Jaishankar began a two-day visit to Qatar on Sunday that is expected to focus on trade, energy cooperation and issues related to Indian workers.

Jaishankar will meet with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani and other dignitaries to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues.

The visit is part of India’s ongoing rapprochement with Western Asia, which the country views as part of its extended neighborhood. Jaishankar recently visited Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, while the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, V Muraleedharan, traveled to Oman. The Indian army chief, General MM Naravane, visited the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the first such trips by an army chief.

In a telephone conversation on December 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, decided to create a special task force to facilitate the investments of the Qatar Investment Authority in India. and explore Qatari investments in the country’s energy value chain.

The Qatar Investment Authority has so far invested $ 600 million in two Indian companies.

Jaishankar will also convey India’s special gratitude to Qatar for caring for Indian expatriates during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foreign Ministry said. Qatar is home to more than 700,000 Indians.

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New Delhi has called on member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Qatar, to facilitate the return of workers who returned home during the pandemic.

Indian workers have benefited from Qatar’s labor reforms ahead of the 2022 soccer World Cup, including a 25 percent increase in the minimum wage and the dismantling of a system that required workers to seek the consent of workers. employers to change jobs.

During a meeting of the India-Qatar joint committee on labor and workforce development on December 9, the two sides agreed to institutionalize measures to promote and protect workers’ rights, including solving labor problems and facilitating the movement of workers. people between the two countries in a safe and secure manner.

Bilateral trade was worth $ 10.95 billion in 2019-20, and both countries intend to intensify cooperation in areas such as energy and investment. “The Gulf countries have also been generous in helping India to secure oil and gas supply during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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