Prime Minister Modi Thanks Amir of Qatar for Navy Veterans Release, Discusses Bilateral Cooperation and Strategic Partnership

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi  thanked the Amir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for supporting the release of Indian navy veterans arrested in Doha in an alleged espionage case and also extended an invitation to pay an official visit to India.

“Prime Minister thanked His Highness the Amir for his support for the welfare of the Indian community and in this regard expressed his deep appreciation for the release of eight Indian nationals of Al Dahra company. We are extremely gratified to see them back in India. PM invited His Highness the Amir to pay a visit to India,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said in a briefing on PM’s visit to Qatar.

Describing details of PM Modi’s visit to Qatar, Kwatra said that PM Modi and Amir of Qatar discussed a wide range of areas of bilateral cooperation, energy partnership, issues of regional security, cultural affinity, and people-to-people ties.

“There were three key and significant elements of Prime Minister’s program. The first was a ceremonial welcome. PM was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Amiri Diwan where His Highness Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received him…The two leaders thereafter held detailed discussions,” he 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 added.

Additionally, both leaders also affirmed strategic investments and strategic partnerships in the field of energy and technology and discussed issues of regional and international importance.

Kwatra said, “When the two leaders spoke, they spoke about the need for strategic investments and strategic partnership in the field of energy and technology and to proceed beyond the buyer seller relationship in this field. They also discussed issues of regional and international importance.”

He added, “Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar is focused on one, consolidating the wide-ranging partnership that India and Qatar have across different fields of economic cooperation. Two, also through the visit this time, build on the gains of 2016 visit, build on the gains achieved through subsequent high-level political exchanges between the two countries and lay a foundation for what the two countries, driven by the strong leadership of The Amir and the PM of India can achieve in months and years ahead, in a manner that not only expands the areas of bilateral cooperation but also increases convergences on regional issues.”

Additionally, PM Modi also held a bilateral meeting with the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The meeting was also attended by the External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval.

PM Modi arrived in Qatar’s capital Doha on February 14 night after inaugurating the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi and a series of bilateral meetings with prominent leaders. Just after he arrived in Doha, PM Modi met with his counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the duo discussed ways to bolster ties between New Delhi and Doha.

PM Modi received a warm welcome from the Indian diaspora outside his hotel in Qatar. PM Modi shook hands with people who had gathered outside his hotel in Doha to welcome him. Some of the people even presented him with gifts like books. People also took pictures of PM Modi as he interacted with them.

Notably, this visit came on heels of a major diplomatic triumph for India, in which eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death in Qatar on espionage charges, were released by Doha on February 12. Seven out of the eight veterans have returned to India. The eighth personnel has also been released and his return is being worked out, the MEA said.