New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS): External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday spoke to Qatar Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, and exchanged views on issues related to Afghanistan, apart from discussing the India-Qatar bilateral, economic and energy cooperation.
The two leaders also held talks on the next meeting of the India-Qatar joint commission.
"A good conversation today with DPM and FM of Qatar @MBA_AlThani_. Included an exchange of views on developments relating to Afghanistan. Also spoke on our bilateral, economic and energy cooperation. Look forward to the meeting of our Joint Commission," tweeted Jaishankar.
There has been a regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits. The Emir of Qatar H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani had paid a state visit to India in March 2015.
Previously, then Emir H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (now the Father Emir) had visited India in 1999, 2005 and 2012. Then Qatari PM Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani visited India in December 2016.
India's bilateral trade with Qatar in 2020-21 was $9.21 billion.
India's export to Qatar during 2020-21 was $1.28 billion and India's import from Qatar was $7.93 billion.
Qatar's key exports to India include LNG, LPG, chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, and aluminium articles, while India's key exports to Qatar include cereals, copper articles, iron and steel articles, vegetables, fruits, spices, and processed food products, electrical and other machinery, plastic products, construction material, textiles and garments, chemicals, precious stones and rubber.
India is among the top three largest export destinations for Qatar (Japan and South Korea being the other two) and is also among the top three sources of Qatar's imports, along with China and Japan. Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India, accounting for over 50 per cent of India's global LNG imports.
Besides LNG, India also imports ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea and polyethylene from Qatar. Therefore, the balance of trade continues to be heavily in Qatar's favour.
However, there has been a substantial growth in India's exports to Qatar in the last few years.
According to the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), there are over 6,000 big and small Indian companies operating in Qatar. Indian companies are today pursuing collaborations in various sectors like infrastructure, communications and information technology, energy and other areas in Qatar.
The extensive infrastructure development in Qatar as it prepares to host the prestigious FIFA World Cup in 2022 and attain its National Vision 2030 objective.
Indian companies have invested about $450 million in Qatar, according to a statement by Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).
Indian companies from across sectors have been present in Qatar for over several years and among them are Larsen & Toubro, Voltas, Shapoorji Pallonji, Wipro, TCS and Tech Mahindra.