India, Qatar to enhance economic, energy ties

November 10th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Doha, Nov 10 (IANS) India and Qatar signed two deals on defence and security cooperation and discussed means to enhance economic and energy ties following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s arrival here, the first by an Indian prime minister to this Gulf nation.Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Sunday evening from Oman on the last leg of his three-day Gulf tour, held extensive discussions with Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani to enhance existing ties of cooperation in the fields of energy, economy and trade.

India imports 7.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from Qatar.

The discussions focused on how to upgrade the energy deal between the two sides from a buyer-seller relationship to a more sustainable relationship involving investments leading to a long-term partnership.

Following the discussions, India and Qatar signed two agreements - one on defence and another on security cooperation.

The defence agreement lays out a structure for joint maritime security and training as well exchange of visits.

The other agreement on security and law enforcement deals with common threat perceptions and sharing of intelligence data.

The two sides also reviewed a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The Qatari prime minister later hosted a banquet in honour of Manmohan Singh and the visiting delegation.

On Monday, the Indian leader will have a meeting with Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.

He will also meet members of the expatriate Indian community at a reception being organised by the Indian embassy in Doha. At 420,000, Indians comprise the largest expatriate community in this Gulf nation.

The prime minister is being accompanied by Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan are also part of the delegation.

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