PM Modi conveys deep appreciation to Qatari Emir for release of 8 jailed Indians

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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

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

Doha: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday conveyed his "deep appreciation" to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani for the release of eight Indians, previously on death row, even as the two leaders held extensive talks that set the stage for taking the bilateral ties to a higher level, especially in the spheres of investment, energy and new technology.


After the talks at the majestic Amiri Palace in this Qatari capital city, Modi described his meeting with the Emir as "wonderful" and said the bilateral ties are growing "stronger and stronger" and both the nations are looking forward to collaborating in futuristic sectors that will benefit the planet.

Modi arrived here last night from the United Arab Emirates in his second visit to Qatar which came days after Doha released the Indians in a major relief to New Delhi.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a media briefing that the talks focused on expanding cooperation in key areas, increasing convergences on regional issues, examining partnerships in third countries, and viewing the overall ties from a strategic perspective rather than a transactional one.


The two leaders also spoke about the need for strategic investments and strategic partnerships in the domain of energy and to proceed beyond the buyer-seller relationship in this field.

Prime Minister Modi also thanked the Emir for his support for the welfare of the Indian community in the Gulf nation, he said.

"The prime minister thanked the Emir for his support for the welfare of the Indian community, and in this regard, expressed his deep appreciation to the Emir for the release of eight Indian nationals of Al-Dahra company. We are extremely gratified to see them back in India," Kwatra said.


Seven out of eight Indians had returned to India on Monday after Qatar freed them. 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.

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

Kwatra said Modi's "very successful visit" has set the stage for taking ties to a much higher level in a range of areas and exploring engagement in new areas such as space, technology and innovation.


"Had a wonderful meeting with HH Sheikh @TamimBinHamad. We reviewed the full range of India-Qatar relations and discussed ways to deepen cooperation across various sectors. Our nations also look forward to collaborating in futuristic sectors which will benefit our planet," Modi said on 'X'.

"My visit to Qatar has added new vigour to the India-Qatar friendship. India looks forward to scaling up cooperation in key sectors relating to trade, investment, technology and culture. I thank the Government and people of Qatar for their hospitality," he said.

"India and Qatar ties are growing stronger and stronger!," Modi said in another post along with photographs of the ceremonial welcome accorded to him in Doha.


Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Amiri Palace on his arrival this morning. Thereafter, both sides held delegation-level and restricted talks.

"The prime minister has had a very successful visit to Qatar. The visit has set the stage and laid the basis for taking India-Qatar relationship to a much higher level across the whole domain of cooperation; as also laid the foundation to explore partnership in some of the new areas," Kwatra said.

"The topics of discussion included a wide range of areas of bilateral cooperation, including trade partnership, investment cooperation, energy partnership, issues engaged in regional security, cultural affinity, and people-to-people ties," he said.


The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the Modi-Hamad discussions covered a wide array of topics including economic cooperation, investments, energy partnership, space collaboration, urban infrastructure, cultural bonds and people-to-people ties.

It said the two leaders also exchanged views on regional and global issues. It is understood that the situation in Gaza figured in the talks.

"The prime minister thanked the Amir for taking care of the over eight lakh strong Indian community in Qatar and conveyed India’s commitment to further expanding and deepening bilateral cooperation with Qatar. He invited Amir to pay an early visit to India," the MEA said in a statement.

It said the Emir reciprocated Modi's sentiments and expressed appreciation for India's role as a valued partner in the Gulf region.

The MEA said the Emir also appreciated the contributions of the vibrant Indian community in Qatar’s development and their enthusiastic participation in various international events held in Qatar.

The talks were followed by a banquet lunch at the Amiri Palace hosted in honour of Modi.

In his remarks, Kwatra said the prime minister's visit to Qatar was focused on consolidating the wide-ranging partnership in different fields of economic cooperation and build on the gains of his 2016 visit to the country with an overarching emphasis on what the two countries can achieve in future.

He said both sides have strong energy security and partnership but the endeavour now would be to look at the cooperation from a strategic point of view that would include renewables, green energy, supply chains in clean energy, technology and innovations in energy space, not just pure energy trade.

Modi met with Qatar's father Emir and congratulated him on his visionary leadership that paved the way for Qatar's development in past decades and laid a strong foundation for the India-Qatar partnership, Kwatra said.

Father Emir affirmed India and Qatar share an unwavering bond epitomised by mutual trust and cooperation, Kwatra said.

The father Emir also appreciated the Indian community’s role in the development and nourishing of bilateral partnership.

Shortly after he arrived in Doha last night, Modi met Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. Abdulrahman is Qatar's foreign minister as well.

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.

On trade engagement, Kwatra said the aim would be to broaden the trade basket and to build new trade markets considering regional trade.

"You would recall that most recently, on the sidelines of India Energy Week last week, held in Goa; two countries signed an agreement for supply of 7.5 MMTPA (Million Metric Tons Per Annum) LNG from Qatar to India for 20 years, starting 2028 onwards. This long-term LNG partnership goes way back to 1999 and remains robust, strong, and future-oriented," Kwatra said.

He said the focus would also be on building a new trade market.

"When I say new trade market, what I mean is that you may have a product for which there may not necessarily be currently a market in Qatar, but I think the way the complementarities of the two economies are growing, it's quite possible we can have new market demand created in Qatar," he said.

Kwatra said "technology, investment, energy, trade, all aspects were discussed at length to look at them, assess them from a strategic perspective." He said no specific agreement was signed during the visit.

"But as I said, the visit will set the stage, lay the basis for a stronger, deeper, more extensive, wide-ranging partnership between India and Qatar," he added.

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

Prime Minister Modi paid his first visit to Doha in June 2016.