India-Qatar Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to Qatar
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 programmes 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 anMoU 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.