India-Qatar

India Qatar Bilateral Economic Relations

      India has a long history of friendly relations with Qatar marked by commercial ties and people to people contacts. The large Indian community acts as a catalyst for enhanced ties across the spectrum of bilateral relations. There is a growing synergy in the hydrocarbon and other sectors. More recently, a number of steps have been taken to further strengthen and expand bilateral relations. These include exchange of high level visits, cooperation in multilateral institutions and political consultations.


      The State Visit of HH Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, to India in March, 2015 at the invitation of Hon’ble President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, provided an excellent opportunity to both sides to engage at the highest level, and imparted fresh momentum to our bilateral ties. This was the Emir’s first visit to India. This was also the first visit of the Head of State of an Arab country after India's current Government led by Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi assumed office in May, 2014. During the Emir's visit, the two sides discussed ways to build a forward-looking partnership by further broadening and deepening the bilateral engagement. It also provided an opportunity to better leverage the existing complementarities between the two countries in key areas of mutual interest including inter alia, energy, power, petrochemicals, investments, infrastructure, project exports, education, culture, health, human resource, media and information technology.


      Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi visited the State of Qatar on June 4-5, 2016. It was a landmark visit in India-Qatar relations. The visit further enhanced the momentum in our bilateral relations. Both sides decided to deepen the partnership in the sectors of energy, economy, trade and investment. A number of mutually beneficial wide ranging MOUs/ Agreements were signed during the visit, including : (i) MoU between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA); (ii) Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters; (iii) Cooperation in the Exchange of Intelligence Related to Money Laundering, Terrorism-Financing and Related Crimes; (iv)  Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of Qualifications; (v) Cooperation in Tourism; (vi) Cooperation in Health; (vii) Cooperation in the Field of Youth and Sports.


      During the visit, both sides agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying the trade basket. They agreed to encourage regular participation in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions and to facilitate trade promotion measures. They expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and Qatari companies in each other's market and agreed to further encourage such participation. Qatar being a major energy exporting country to India, the Indian side invited Qatar to invest in India’s exploration & production sector by bidding for the exploration blocks in India under the new "Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing” Policy and "Discovered Small Fields” Policy and invited Qatar to participate in the second phase of the strategic reserves storage facility being created in India. The full text of the Joint Press Statement issued during the visit is reproduced below:


      At the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, Hon'ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Shri Narendra Modi paid a two-day official visit to the State of Qatar from 4-5 June, 2016.


      His Highness the Emir received Prime Minister Modi on 5 June at the Amiri Diwan and exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.


      During the visit, Prime Minister Modi also met His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the State of Qatar.


      During the official meetings, the two sides recalled the historical ties between India and Qatar and noted that the mutually beneficial and traditionally close interaction, which has existed between the peoples of the two countries over several generations, had stood the test of time.


      The leaders of the two sides expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral relations underpinned by the regular exchange of high-level visits. They welcomed the conclusion of various agreements/ MOUs during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Qatar. They acknowledged that these agreements and those already existing would strengthen the framework for the consolidation of friendship and cooperation between India and Qatar.


      Both leaders appreciated the well-functioning bilateral institutional mechanisms in the fields of trade and investment, energy, defence and manpower and emphasized that the sectoral Joint Working Groups should continue to meet regularly to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. The two sides agreed to constitute an inter-ministerial High Level Joint Committee to regularly review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.


      Recognizing the existing goodwill, the two leaders agreed to further broaden and deepen bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest. They agreed to further enhance high-level political exchanges, defence and security cooperation, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages. They stressed upon the need for building a strong partnership for the 21st century between the two countries in keeping with their responsibility for promoting peace, stability and security in the region and the world.


      Acknowledging that the agreement on Defence Cooperation signed in November 2008 provided the required framework to strengthen bilateral defence ties, the two leaders agreed to provide further impetus to these relations, including through joint exercises and enhanced training of naval, air and land forces, as also in the area of coastal defence. The Qatari side evinced interest in the opportunities offered under the 'Make in India' initiative for joint production of defence equipment in India.


 The Indian side appreciated Qatar's participation in the International Fleet Review and DEFEXPO in India in February and March 2016, respectively, and the increasing visits of Qatari delegations to India's Naval and Coast Guard establishments. The Qatari side thanked India for its high-level participation, along with an indigenously designed and built guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy during DIMDEX in March 2016, and the regular goodwill visits of the ships of Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The Qatari side expressed appreciation for India's offer to conduct special training programs for the personnel of Qatar Armed Forces and Coast Guard in India and in Qatar.


 The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean regions, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.


      The two leaders expressed strong condemnation of the phenomenon of international terrorism, reiterating their firm resolve to cooperate together to root out this global menace which threatened all nations and societies. They noted that the spread of terrorist organisations at the global and regional level, and the significant rise in acts of terrorism directly undermined the international peace and security environment and endangered efforts to ensure sustainable growth and development.


      Both leaders condemned all acts of violence, terrorism and extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, civilisation or ethnic group.


      The two leaders highlighted the need to isolate the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken. 


      Both sides noted that addressing the menace of global terrorism should be based on a comprehensive approach which should include, but not limited to, countering violent extremism, combating radicalisation and recruitment, disrupting terrorist movements, stopping all sources for financing of terrorism, stopping flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, dismantling terrorist infrastructure, and countering terrorist propaganda through the internet.


      The two sides discussed ways and means to further promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalization and for disturbing social harmony. They welcomed exchanges and dialogue between religious scholars and intellectuals of both countries and the organization of conferences and seminars to promote values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare, inherent in all religions. 


      Expressing appreciation of their ongoing bilateral cooperation in the area of security, the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence-sharing, developing best practices and technologies, capacity-building and to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug-trafficking and other transnational crimes. The two sides further agreed to take action against illegal transfer of money. Both leaders welcomed the signing of an MOU on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and terrorism financing. 


      Both leaders highlighted that countering terrorism required a strong collective action by the global community. They further agreed to strengthen their cooperation in combating terrorism within the relevant multilateral institutions. 


      The two sides described bilateral trade ties as an abiding link between the two countries. Taking note of the excellent trade engagement, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, both sides agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying the trade basket. They agreed to encourage regular participation in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions and to facilitate trade promotion measures. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and Qatari companies in each other's market and agreed to further encourage such participation. To promote business to business and tourism linkages, they also agreed to put in place appropriate mechanism for expeditious grant of visas to businessmen and tourists of the two countries.



The Qatari side welcomed the participation of Indian companies in the infrastructure development projects in Qatar in preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup and the development plans under "Vision 2030 for Qatar”.


 Prime Minister Modi highlighted the major initiatives taken by the Government of India for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ through simplification and rationalization of existing rules and relaxing of foreign direct investment caps in key areas, including interalia, railways, defence and insurance. Informing about the plans to create world class infrastructure in India through 100 smart cities; metro projects for 50 cities; modern waste management system for 500 cities; affordable healthcare within everyone's reach; sanitation for all by 2019; and a roof over every head by 2022, Prime Minister Modi invited Qatar to be a partner in India’s growth story.


      Expressing his appreciation for Prime Minister Modi's vision to further accelerate India’s growth and development, His Highness the Emir expressed his confidence in India’s growth narrative. Noting their strong potential to provide Indian economy a positive thrust for growth, His Highness the Emir lauded the new initiatives of Prime Minister Modi including, "Start Up India", "Make in India", "Smart City”, and "Clean India” etc.


      Recognizing the high growth rate and the existing potential of the Indian economy, the importance of partnering in India’s growth and acknowledging Qatar's significant investment capacity, the two sides discussed various avenues/instruments for Qatari investments in India, particularly in different asset classes and various infrastructure sectors as well as the disinvestments of Indian Public Sector Undertakings.


      The two sides agreed to increase the level of participation in infrastructure projects in both countries. They further deliberated upon the importance of cooperation between Qatar Investment Authority and National Infrastructure and Investment Fund set up by the Government of India. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the framework agreement for participation of the Qatari institutional investors in the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund.


      The two sides agreed for regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. Both sides also recognized the need for arranging regular meetings between Qatar Investment Authority and relevant Indian authorities and public and private sector companies.


      The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing bilateral trade in the energy sector, with Qatar being the largest supplier of LNG and LPG to India. The Indian side appreciated Qatar's contribution to India's energy security.


      The two sides agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy, covering the areas of training and human resources development and cooperation in research and development and through promotion of joint ventures in petrochemical complexes and cooperation in joint exploration in India and other countries.


      The Indian side highlighted the interest of its energy companies to pursue opportunities of mutual interest in Qatar, with Qatar Petroleum and other companies, in order to jointly explore new fields as well development of discovered oil and gas assets and exploit the existing resources of natural gas and crude oil in Qatar.


      The Indian side invited Qatar to invest in India’s exploration & production sector by bidding for the exploration blocks in India under the new "Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing” Policy and "Discovered Small Fields” Policy. 


      The Indian side invited Qatar to participate in the second phase of the strategic reserves storage facility being created in India.


      The two leaders deliberated upon the need for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the financial services sector, including banking, insurance and capital markets. They decided to expand cooperation between the financial institutions of the two countries like Securities and Exchange Board of India and the respective Central Banks.


      Recognising that India offers world class medical treatment facilities at competitive cost, the two sides agreed to work towards enhancing cooperation in the health sector, including in the areas of health services, exchange of health personnel, health education and pharmaceuticals. Both leaders welcomed the signing of a MoU on bilateral Cooperation in the Field of Health between the Government of the State of Qatar and the Government of the Republic of India.


      The Qatari side appreciated the initiative taken by Prime Minister Modi leading to the formation of International Solar Alliance. They acknowledged the importance of this Alliance in advancing new solar technologies worldwide.


      The two leaders emphasized that the overwhelming response to the International Day of Yoga was a reflection of the global community's desire to come together to seek a balanced, healthier and sustainable future for the world. Prime Minister Modi thanked Qatar for its support to the First International Day of Yoga on 21 June 2015, including through the issue of commemorative stamps by the Qatar Post to mark the occasion. 


      The two leaders noted the role cultural exchanges played in bringing the peoples of India and Qatar together. The two sides agreed to expand bilateral cultural and sports cooperation, including frequent exchange of cultural groups and sports teams, and by collaborating in the field of cinema. Prime Minister Modi expressed appreciation to the Qatar Museums for its decision to celebrate Qatar-India Year of Culture in 2019. Both leaders welcomed the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Custom Matters; the MoU on Tourism Cooperation; and the First Executive Programme for the MoU in the field of Youth and Sports between the Government of the State of Qatar and the Government of the Republic of India.


 The two leaders noted that people-to-people contacts were at the heart of India-Qatar relations and both sides would continue to nurture these relations. HH the Emir appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian community for the development and progress of the State of Qatar. The Qatari side briefed the Indian side on the reform in labour laws which would protect the interest of skilled and unskilled labour in Qatar. Prime Minister Modi conveyed sincere thanks to the Qatari leadership for hosting the Indian community and for ensuring their continued welfare and safety. Both leaders welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of Qualifications. 


      The two leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia. They also expressed grave concern regarding security situation in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen and reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of these issues through dialogue and political negotiations.


      In the context of the UN reforms, both leaders emphasized the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a UN reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They stressed upon the urgent need to pursue UN reforms, including of the Security Council through an expansion in both categories of its membership, to make it more representative, credible and effective.


      Prime Minister Modi expressed his sincere gratitude to His Highness the Emir for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality. He invited His Highness the Emir to pay an official visit to India at mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.


      Accepting the invitation of PM Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, undertook an official visit to India from 2-3 December, 2016. The visit was of great significance as it comes in the context of efforts to review progress made on key tracks of the bilateral relationship to build on the agreements reached during the visit of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to Qatar on 4-5 June 2016. Three Agreements/MOUs were signed, including the Agreement for Exemption of Visa Requirement for Holders of Diplomatic, Special and Official Passport Holders, and MOUs on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime; and between the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of Qatar and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in addition to a Letter of Intent for e-visas for tourists and businessmen. Separately, a MoU between Qatar Ports Management Company ("Mwani Qatar”) and Indian Ports Global Private Limited was concluded.


      The year 2017 saw visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to India on 25-26 August, 2017. During this visit, the Foreign Minister of Qatar assured the Indian side of uninterrupted energy supplies to India and encouraged the Indian companies to participate in the FIFA-2022 related infrastructure projects including other infrastructural development projects taking place in Qatar. External Affairs Minister of India; Smt. Sushma Swaraj appreciated Qatar for contributing significantly to India’s energy security.



Commercial & Economic Relations


India’s exports to Qatar reached US$ 784 million and total bilateral trade reached US$ 8.4 billion in FY 2016-17, with India’s imports from Qatar being US$ 7.6 billion for the same FY. India’s exports to Qatar had reached a billion mark in FY 2014-15 with US$ 1.05 billion value of exports. India-Qatar’s bilateral trade stood at US $6.07 billion during April- November 2017 with India’s export to Qatar stood at US$ 841.39 million and import from Qatar stood at US$ 5.23 billion during the period.


Major items of Indian exports are articles of iron or steel, plastic & articles thereof, construction material, electrical and electronic items, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, rubber, spices and cereals. India is the third largest export destination for Qatar (behind Japan and South Korea). India is a major buyer of ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea and polyethylene from Qatar.  However, India has been a major customer for Qatari crude oil/products.  A letter of Intent has been signed with Qatar on setting up a Joint Venture fertilizer plant in Qatar, subject to allocation of gas for this project. A number of Indian companies in Qatar have made their mark in diverse areas such as financial services, infrastructure, information technology, energy, construction and water and electricity.


Bilateral trade data in last few years is tabulated as under: 

(Figures in US$ million)

Head

Indian Export to Qatar

Indian Import from Qatar

Total Bilateral Trade

FY 2013-14

969.06

15,707.99

16,677.04

% Growth

41.02

0.10

1.81

FY 2014-15

1,054.98

14,604.71

15,659.69

% Growth

8.87

-7.02

-6.10

FY 2015-16

902.04

9,022.16

9,924.20

% Growth

-14.50

-38.22

-36.63

FY 2016-17

784.56

7,646.22

8,430.78

% Growth

-13.02

-15.25

-15.05

FY 2017-18

1,471.88

8,409.08

9,880.96

% Growth

87.61

9.98

17.20

Source: Ministry of Commerce, India


In the month of June 2017, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Qatar launched a new maritime line between Qatar and India named “India Qatar Express Service” (IQX). The line links Hamad Port in Qatar with the Mundra and Nhava Sheva Ports in India. The service (IQX) will have weekly sailing and direct express connections between Mundra, Nhava Sheva and Doha (Hamad) for local cargo. The service accepts coastal cargo from west and east coast of Indian ports for transshipment to Mundra and will also accept transshipment cargo from South East Asia/Far East via Mundra. The service includes two vessels – Hansa Magdeburg and Hansa Duburg.


Qatar Charity (QC) in collaboration with Sarvenjan Kokan Foundation, a local developmental society opened US $0.82 million worth vocational training centre in Maharashtra State of India. The inaugatation of training centre was attended by Mohamad bin Khater Al Khater, Ambassador of Qatar to India, Anant Geete, India's Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Ramdas Kadam, India's state Environment Minister and Mohamad Al Hajiri , CEO of Jassim and Hamad bin Jassim Charitable Foundation. The training centre aims to offer vocational courses for up to 200 students in a year in Dabhol area of Maharashtra with a population of about 500,000.


On 7 June, 2016, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) announced that the Qatari company, Al Balagh Trading & Contracting and Indian construction company, Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), had been appointed as the main contractors to build the 40,000 seat capacity Al Rayyan Stadium for FIFA 2022. A signing ceremony for the joint-venture was held at SCDL. At the invitation of SCDL, a CII-led delegation visited Doha from September 24-26, 2017 and met senior officials involved in the organization of FIFA World Cup 2022. In an event organized by the Embassy along with Indian Business & Professionals Council (IBPC) (a community based organization having the mandate of promoting bilateral trade and commerce) on September 25, 2017, B2B meetings were organized for the visiting delegation.


As part of ‘Paryatan Parv’ celebrations, a series of events were organized by the Embassy of India. On October 25, 2017 a brainstorming session on tourism was organised which was headed by the Ambassador and involved relevant stakeholders including tour operators and representatives from the hotel industry sector. The event generated a lot of ideas and recommendations on ways to increase the tourist footfall to India from Qatar. The main motto objective was to generate ideas and promote India Tourism in Qatar.


Mr. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of Qatar 2022 SCDL visited India in October, 2017 to participate in the FIFA council meeting ahead of India’s bid for the under-20 World Cup to be held in 2019. India and Qatar share deep co-operation and collaboration as both the nations are gearing up to host the most important global football events. The same was expressed in a press statement in Qatar on November 8, 2017 where Hassan Al Thawadi called India the next big market in football and expressed Qatar’s desire to play an important part in it.


A delegation from the Indian Food & Packaging Industry Exporters visited Qatar to exhibit in the Food & Hospitality Show 2017 in Doha, Qatar. The India Pavilion was setup in the Food & Hospitality Qatar 2017. The event was held from 7-9 November, 2017 at Doha Exhibition & Convention Center, Doha, Qatar. Around 17 Indian exporters from the Food, Food Technology and Packaging sectors participated to showcase the potential of increasing trade between India and Qatar in the food sector.


Qatar Foundation Endowment (QFE) has sold through its Asia-Pacific regional holding company, Three Pillars Private Ltd (TPPL), the entire 5% stake it holds in Bharti Airtel for US $1.5 billion (INR 9,600 crore) in November 2017, via a block trade. The block trade was priced at US $7.5 (Rs. 481) per share, a discount of 6.4% to the previous closing price as of November 7, 2017. Qatar Foundation Endowment had acquired the 5% equity stake in Bharti Airtel for US $1.02 billion (INR 6,796 crore) in 2013.


Natural Gas Imports from Qatar: India (Petronet) has signed an agreement to purchase 7.5 million tonnes of LNG every year from Qatar for a period of 25 years; the first shipment took place in 2004.  The full supplies of 7.5 million tonnes began from January, 2010. In addition, spot cargoes are purchased from time to time. For instance, Petronet signed (May 2014) a deal to buy 0.8 million tons LNG from Qatar's RasGas in the fiscal year that began on April 1, 2014. The gas is being imported at Petronet's 10-million-tonne-a-year Dahej regassification terminal in western India. In December 2014, Petronet received its 1000th cargo at Dahej from RasGas. On 31 December, 2015, Petronet signed a fresh agreement with RasGas to purchase an additional 1.0 million tonne of LNG annually through the remainder of the existing 25-year contract, ending in 2028.


Commercial Representative

Surinder Bhagat
First Secretary (Pol & Comm) & Mission's Commercial Representative
Contact No: 44255710
Email id: dcm.doha@mea.gov.in
             com.doha@mea.gov.in 



India’s Economy


India’s Economy, www.indiainbusiness.nic.in

Annual Budget & Economic Survey, www.indiabudget.nic.in

Invest India, www.investindia.gov.in

Make in India, www.makeinindia.com/home


Qatar Economy Data


2017

2016

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

GDP( Billions US$)

41.47

40.10

41.80

44.19

36.20

37.02

38.81

40.37

Inflation Rate y-o-y

1.0

0.6

-0.2

0.3

3.1

2.7

2.8

2.0

Budget Surplus (Deficit)/GDP

-5.4

-4.1

-6.9

-6.6

-8.4

-8.6

-0.6

-17.9

Current Account/GDP

1.0

2.5

5.3

6.4

-6.1

-6.6

-4.9

-4.2

 

Source: Qatar Central Bank

Figures in US$ Billion

Period

Exports

Imports

Trade Balance

2017

2018

% Change Y-o-Y

2017

2018

% Change Y-o-Y

2017

2018

% Change Y-o-Y

Q1-Q4

67.49

19.65

-

29.42

7.8

-

38.05

11.84

-

Q1

16.30

19.65

20.6

7.49

7.8

1.3

8.81

11.84

37.8

Q2

15.81

6.66

9.14

Q3

16.57

6.31

10.26

Q4

18.81

8.96

9.84


Source: Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics

Embassy of India
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